Wednesday, September 3, 2003
Steamboat Springs Tucker Smalley finished Wed-nesday's 18-hole round at the Haymaker Golf Course with a 2-foot putt for par and a broad smile on his face.
After sitting out the past two high school golf tournaments staying home to fine-tune his game with coaches, Smalley was ready to return to the varsity level and was elated that he shot a 74 -- his best round of the season -- at home.
"I haven't traveled to the last couple of tournaments," Smalley said. "So I've had some time to work on my swing with Troy (Weller) at the Sheraton. He videotaped my swing, and it really helped a lot."
Grand Junction's Eric Winder was the only golfer to shoot a better round than Smalley on Wednesday. He finished one stroke under par at 71 to win the tournament.
Steamboat won the team title, however, thanks to the play of Smalley, Kenton Gamache and Ryan Brees, who combined for Steamboat's best finish of the season.
Smalley's 74, Gamache's 76 and Brees' 78 gave the Sailors a team total of 228.
Grand Junction was second at 234 and Fruita-Monument came in third at 239.
"I finally shot out of the 80s," Brees said. "That's what I've been trying to do all season."
Other Sailors playing for the varsity team included Paul Berry, who finished with an 84, and Hunter Hidalgo, who scored a 90.
Sailors coach Ryan Barclay said Wednesday's showing was something that he has expected from the Sailors all season. He said he knows his players have the talent to win, but they just hadn't been able to put it together as a team until Wednesday's tournament.
"I'm not sure this was a breakthrough, but hopefully this will get them on track when it counts," Barclay said.
Berry struggled in the tournament, but the coach wasn't concerned about his top golfer.
"Golf is funny that way," Barclay said. "You have your good days and your bad days. We have more tournaments, and Paul has plenty of more good days ahead of him."
Steamboat will head to Craig today to play in another high school golf tournament at Yampa Valley Golf Course. Moffat County High School will host the event, which will begin at 9 a.m. with a shotgun start.
"It's nice because we don't have to drive as far and we can just get out of the car and go play golf," Smalley said. "It's also nice because we know the course -- and that helps a lot."