BOULDER -- Considering the Alexander Dawson boys golf team has three players who are members of the Boulder Country Club and live on the course, the Mustangs knew they had a shot to win Thursday.
It was the one Mustang who isn't a member who led the way, however.
Christian Wagner fired a 4-over-par 74 to win the Class 3A Northern Regional title and lead Alexander Dawson to the team crown. The Mustangs finished with a team score of 235, edging second-place Estes Park by two strokes.
"It means a lot," Wagner said. "It's the best tournament I've played in all year. It's a really great feeling to shoot my low score of the year during such an important tournament."
The Mustangs needed it.
Top player Cam Connor sputtered into the clubhouse with an 81, well above his season average of 72.6.
"It was definitely a brutal day out there," Connor said.
No. 2 man Carson Jones carded an 83 after coming in with a 77.2 average.
Wagner, however, played as if he owned the course. His season average was 80.7, yet he played even par over the final seven holes. He had two birdies on the day.
"To be honest, yeah, a lot," he said about being nervous, "but my mental game was very strong today. I had a couple of bad holes and I was able to bounce back, so that was really helpful."
Connor had more than a couple of bad holes. He was 5-over through his first four holes and then settled down. On the par-3 15th, however, he notched a triple-bogey. He followed that with a bogey, setting up a bit of drama for the team title.
Connor's group was the last to finish and it came down to him and Estes Park's top player, Dylan Jirsa. Connor got in trouble on 17 and 18, but recovered on both to hold off Jirsa and the Bobcats.
"I still hit pretty bad shots on 17 and 18, but to save par on both of them, it was big," Connor said.
The Mustangs' Cole Folwell had a solid day. The sophomore posted the team's second-best score with an 80.
Together, the Mustangs earned their way to state once again. They were third at state in 2010 and 2011.
"I'm so proud of the boys," long-time Mustangs coach Arnold Lewis said. "Seeing Christian step up and take the team on his back into state is awesome, but he didn't do it alone.
"It's really fun and I feel lucky."
Class 3A Northern Regional
At Boulder Country Club, par 70
Note: The top team and top nine individuals not on the winning team qualified for state.
Team scores -- Alexander Dawson 235, Estes Park 237, Sterling 246, Eaton 248, Holyoke 259, Resurrection Christian 272, Brush 292, Yuma 295, Burlington 344.
State qualifiers -- 1. Christian Wagner, Alexander Dawson, 74; 2. Brian Coleman, Estes Park, 75; 3. Reed Hodgson, Eaton, 77; 4. Dylan Jirsa, Estes Park, 79; t5. Cole Folwell, Alexander Dawson, 80; t5. Ian Coberly, Sterling, 80; t7. Cam Connor, Alexander Dawson, 81; t7. Trey Lambrecht, Sterling, 81; t9. Deyton Klein, Holyoke, 82; t9. Bryce Needens, Brush, 82; t11. Carson Jones, Alexander Dawson, 83; t11. Hayden Baird, Estes Park, 83; t11. Jordan Stromberger, Eaton, 83.