LOVELAND — TJ Shehee has been one of the top prep golfers in Colorado for years but his senior year is all about accomplishing goals that have been within reach for a long time.
A challenger for the Class 4A state title in two weeks, Shehee checked another first off of his career to-do list on Wednesday. At the Olde Course in Loveland, the Mead senior shot a 1-under 71 to win the 4A Region 3 individual championship.
Despite having finished in the top 25 at state three times before, Wednesday's regional title was Shehee's first.
"The course was playing pretty tough because it had punched greens and that made it hard to putt," Shehee said. "I missed a few short putts but I didn't get mad and let it ruin my round. I just tried to hit it well all day and give myself opportunities. It means a lot to me to win because I haven't played well at regionals before."
Shehee said his best performance at a prior regional tournament was a 73 he shot as a sophomore. On Wednesday, he made five birdies and four bogeys.
Shehee will be joined at the state tournament by teammate Kellen Kudrna, who tied for 12th at 9-over on Wednesday and tied with Shehee for 14th place at last year's state tournament. But with the top two teams and the next 13 players not in those teams qualifying out of each region, the Mavericks will send just the two players to state since they finished third just two strokes behind Region 3 runner-up Northridge.
"I really want to win state," Shehee said. "That's my goal. Our team, though, we were two shots off of qualifying all four of us for state so that's tough. It's a bummer and getting third place as a team stings because all four of us could have found two shots out there."
Evergreen won the Region 3 team title. Niwot was fourth, Frederick was fifth, Silver Creek took sixth, Longmont was ninth, Erie was 13th and Skyline finished 14th. Silver Creek, Niwot and Frederick won't qualify for the team competition at state but each will also send two players to compete at Flying Horse on Oct. 1-2.
Silver Creek senior David Brett placed fourth at 6-over and junior teammate Garrett Stansel tied for eighth at 8-over. Frederick's Colton Gabbard and Jake Chesler tied for fifth place at 7-over. Niwot's Jack Hoover tied with Stansel and teammate Andrew Elliott tied for 12 place, one stroke behind them.
"We were expecting a little bit more," Niwot head coach Ed Weaver said. "I thought we'd get three in, maybe four. It's a little tough but we've got two going and we'll compete individually."
Longmont junior Adam Gannon also qualified for state, placing 17th at 10-over.
4A Region 3 Championships
At the Olde Course, par 72
Team scores — Evergreen 233, Northridge 238, Mead 240, Niwot 245, Frederick 245, Silver Creek 246, Windsor 246, Thompson Valley 255, Longmont 262, Mountain View 265, Berthoud 269, Roosevelt 202, Erie 283, Skyline 292, Greeley Central 294.
State qualifiers — 1. TJ Shehee, Mead, 71; 2. Nolan Miller, Evergreen, 73; 3. Traejan Andrews, Northridge, 75; t4. Jake Chesler, Frederick, 78; t4. David Brett, Silver Creek, 78; t6. Golton Gabbard, Frederick, 79; t6. Clay Whitton, Everygreen, 79; t8. Gavin McWhorter, Mountain View, 80; t8. Whit Hewett, Thompson Valley, 80; t8. Austin Magnuson, Northridge, 80; t8. Garrett Stansel, Silver Creek, 80; t8. Jack Hoover, Niwot, 80; t13. Ben Newkirk, evergreen, 81; t13. Andrew Elliott, Niwot, 81; t13. Kellen Kudrna, Mead, 81; t13. Mitchell Rasmuson, Windsor, 81; t17. Adam Gannon, Longmont 82; t17. Harrison Parker, Windsor, 82.
Other Mead results — t30. Tanner Strong 88; 37. Houston Irwin 92.
Other Frederick results — t27. Nick Formby 87; t43. Davis Richard 96.
Other Longmont results — t27. Bennett Wiley 87; 38. Eric Wagner 93; 45. Jake Fry 97.
Other Niwot results — t19. Sam Hoover 83; 2. Christopher Gunlikson 86.
Other Silver Creek results — t30. Broderick Keuhl 88; t30. John Sekich 88.
Erie results — t30. Chase Loschen 88; t41. William Warner 95; t48. Shjon Booth 100; 58. Logan Wilson 117.
Skyline results — 39. Caden Silva 94; 46. John Reed 98; t48. Keaton Schell 100; t52. Brady Hindman 103.