There was a quick flinch, but no fall.
HunterPaugh showed the backbone of a champion and finished his high school career with a state title Tuesday afternoon.
The Fort Collins High School senior has been waiting for this moment.
Playing at his home course where he’s honed his game, Paugh won the Class 5A state golf individual title.
“It’s awesome,” Paugh said. “It’s even better than in my dreams.”
After finishing the final hole in front of a huge gallery, he jumped into a long embrace with his dad as smiles spread throughout the throng of followers there to watch him.
Paugh took a four-stroke lead into Tuesday’s second and final round at Fort Collins Country Club.
Last year he was in a similar position, leading by a stroke after the first day. He finished third.
Tuesday he seemed in command from the start until a double-bogey on No. 7 pulled teammate AJOtt within a stroke.
“I had to let it go,” said Paugh, who is committed to play at the University of South Dakota. “It’s just another double-bogey…I told my coach on the eighth hole that I’m not giving this away. Not this time.”
How would Paugh respond? Like a champion. He hit par the next three holes then birdied 11 and 12 and he was on his way.
Ott cut to within two late, but par on each of the final six holes sent Paugh to the state title, with Ott finishing second.
Paugh finished four strokes under par after a par second round.
“I’ve been working toward this since I knew state would be here,” Paugh said. “I knew it was my home course and I had an advantage with that. I knew all my friends and family were here to support me. That really helped.”
Ott, who is committed to Colorado State University, finished minus-1 for his fourth top 10 placement to finish his career. Despite the accomplishment, he couldn’t hide the bitter disappointment of not winning a state title. Down two strokes, his birdie put on 17 that would have pulled him within one lipped out.
“I just wanted a chance coming down the stretch,” Ott said. “Honestly I don’t know if I can find a more frustrating day of putting.”
Fossil Ridge entered Tuesday third as a team and finished fourth at plus-19. Regis Jesuit won the team title at plus-15.
Fossil Ridge sophomore JoshCaridi finished tied for fifth at plus-two. Freshman DillonStewart tied for 19th at plus-eight, senior NoahBrownell was 21st at plus-nine and senior MattAtkins took 49th at plus-17.
Rocky Mountain’s CamNagel had a second-round 75 to finish tied for 33rd at plus-13 overall. Poudre’s BobbyEckles finished tied for 52nd at plus-18.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.