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Panthers’ Chesnie Patrick inspires teammates

Montezuma-Cortez senior Chesnie Patrick eyes her chip on to the green in the Panther Invitational at Conquistador Golf Course. Patrick’s leadership of a young Panther golf team helps guide the team to continued success on the course. (Ben Bradley/Special to the Journal)
Montezuma-Cortez senior golfer eyes on another state tournament appearance

CORTEZ – For the first three-quarters of her life, Chesnie Patrick has made the golf course her second home.

Now in her senior season for the Montezuma-Cortez golf team, Patrick is squarely focused on welcoming others to take up the game that she’s made her passion.

The Panther golf program has cemented itself as one of the top teams in Class 3A, and Patrick serves as a centerpiece for that foundation.

The program now enjoys an abundance of interest, which places Patrick in a position where she can mentor the next wave of Panthers.

Each season, Patrick has shaved strokes off her handicap and now ranges in the mid to low 80s on a regular basis, as she and sophomore teammate Amita Crowley regularly find themselves atop of the leaderboard.

In her final home tournament of her career, an 85 on Conquistador Golf Course put her team in position for another top-two finish, along with another top-five individual performance.

“This year, my mental game is completely different, which has included my ability to recover from a bad shot. I’ve been able to refocus,” said Patrick, who won all-state honors as a junior.

Three state appearances in her first three tries generates the obvious ambition for Patrick: make it four straight, and improve her final place each season in the process. Patrick said the key to that improvement has been limiting her strokes around the green.

“It’s improved a lot. I used to give up an extra five shots with my short game. Now I feel more confident, especially with my chipping,” Patrick said.

Patrick’s golf swing cadence, along with her steady demeanor, brings along a group of Panthers who look to the team’s lone senior to provide a consistent mentor.

Montezuma-Cortez senior Chesnie Patrick launches her tee shot in the Panther Invitational at Conquistador Golf Course. Patrick’s leadership of a young Panther golf team helps guide the team to continued success on the course. (Ben Bradley/Special to the Journal)

“She creates a great environment for the younger girls,” said second year Panthers golf coach Travis Wright. “She’s the first one to practice and brings a competitive edge, but also is able to make it a fun environment.”

Patrick, who has played golf since she was 4 years old, said she knew she’d have to take a young squad under her wing and help them feel comfortable.

Along with Crowley, sophomore Afton Unrein returns to a Panthers squad with state tournament experience in 2023.

“I’ve really looked up to her,” Unrein said of Patrick. “She picks everyone up and sets a good vibe for the team – and I’ve learned to model the way I putt from watching her.”

“I love that this is an individual and team sport, and that I’ve been able to make so many friends, both with my teammates and with girls I meet in the tournaments. It’s really cool,” said Patrick.

Aside from enjoying her success on the golf course, the senior also contributed to the Panthers cheer squad breaking through for their first state finals appearance earlier this year, earning individual all-state honors in the process.

“As a base in cheerleading, I’m lifting people, so it’s been a good arm workout for golf during the preseason – and then to have the experience of making finals in cheer – it was surreal,” she said.

The Panthers standout, who will attend Colorado Mesa University in the future, can look back on her four years and be proud of her impact.

“These four years has taught me that you can do whatever you want, and that being willing to try new things can take you anywhere,” said Patrick, whose year-round commitments to theater, cheer, and golf have given her a full scholastic experience.

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