Steamboat Springs Twenty teams and 80 of the state's best junior golfers will tee off at the Haymaker Golf Course at 8 a.m. today with one objective.
Earning a state berth.
"All of the players in our region have played this course," Sailors' coach Jason Deigert said. "I think we have a home-course advantage, but if our players want to make it to state they are going to have to earn it."
This will be the first time Steamboat Springs and the Haymaker Golf Course have hosted the Western Regional. The top players in the area will be hoping to be on one of the top two teams or among the seven top players (not on one of those teams) in the standings late Wednesday afternoon.
"I think we have a very good shot at making it as a team, " Deigert said. "We have a talented group of players out there and we're within a couple of strokes of the top teams in the region this year."
Steamboat will enter the tournament as the No. 6 team in the Western Slope Conference. But with players like Jeff Franks (ranked No. 1 in the region), Cody Sherrill, Kenton Gamache, and Ryan Brees the Sailors have to be considered one of the top teams.
Other favorites include Rifle, Montezuma-Cortez, Cedaredge, Montrose and Aspen.
Teams will tee off at 8 a.m. with the top-rated foursome set to begin at 11:30 a.m. The group will include Steamboat's Franks, Montezuma Cortez's Shea Sena, Aspen's Nate Walla and Palisade's Willie Edwards.
Other top individual players will include Scott Tarbet (Aspen), Mike Dallas (Cedaredge), Jerrad Brown (Rifle), Ben VanCuren (Battle Mountain), Chris Lundberg (Montrose) and Michael Stroud (Montezuma-Cortez).
Teams will play just four players in the regional tournament with the top-three scored counting toward the team's results.