Staff Photo: John Bohn Brookwood golfer Shawn Chong hits onto the the second green during the Region 8-AAAAAA Boys Golf Tournament played Tuesday at Summit Chase Country Club. Chong was the indvidual winner of the tournament while Grayson won the team title.
SNELLVILLE -- Shawn Chong walked up the hill to the clubhouse grinning.
It was an uncharacteristic show of emotion from the Brookwood sophomore. For good reason.
Chong shot an even-par 72 on Summit Chase's course Tuesday and propelled the Broncos into a playoff with Grayson for the Region 8-AAAAAA title.
But the Rams won by one shot and brought home their fourth straight crown.
"This is even more special -- this is my last year," Grayson head coach Lenny Gregory said. "I asked the guys for one more. Send me out with another one. I think they fought hard for that."
The Rams' Dylan Heaser made a less-than-dramatic one-foot putt to win the playoff hole.
"I couldn't tell if I was even in it," Heaser said with a chuckle. "I thought we had already won it. I had no idea."
Grayson gets an automatic berth to the state tournament. Brookwood, along with third-place Parkview and fourth-place Dacula, is headed to sectionals. It's a new format this season, allowing two more teams a shot at making state.
In years past, it's been just the top two teams going straight to state.
But not for the first time, it was Brookwood and Grayson battling for the region championship.
They went to a playoff two years ago as well, even with the same team scores of 323.
"It was another epic battle of two top teams in this region," Gregory said. "It came down to the wire and it's a great testament to our program and where we've come.
"There have been a lot of things going on. My wife just had a baby so I missed last week. My assistant coach Alan Yancy has really stepped up. He's done a great job of holding our team together and really pushing these young men."
Sophomore Conner Dickinson's 74 made a big difference for Grayson, leaving him just two strokes back of Chong and tied with Parkview's Aaron DeSilva.
"I felt pretty good," Dickinson said. "I could have had a few shots, but I'm sure everybody could have. I just tried not to turn one bad shot into a bad hole."
Chong, who shot 82 on this course at last year's region tournament, put up a 35 on the back nine. He eagled No. 15, sinking a 16-foot putt.
"I played pretty well on the back, but I couldn't putt at all on the front nine," Chong said.
It was one of his best rounds of the season -- although he shot 69 at Summit Chase in a practice round -- and his teammates said Chong put them on his back Tuesday.
"I didn't have a clue what was going on (with the team scores as he finished)," Chong said.
But he did think 72 was probably good for low medalist. Thus, the smile.
Also earning a spot at state was South Gwinnett's Kevin Geary, whose 76 was the lowest score from a team that didn't qualify for state or sectionals.