Golfers indulge in weekend tournament

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It's a dream come true for most avid golfers: 54 holes of golf during three days on three of the best courses in the state.

Golfers who play well get a shot at winning one of eight titles and bragging rights in Steamboat Springs.

This weekend, 95 of the area's top golfers will get the chance to live the dream during the Steamboat Springs Combined Club Championships.

"I didn't play in too many golf tournaments this summer, but I'm looking forward to this one," defending men's champion Butch Boucher said. "There are some very good tournaments in our area, but this is one of the best."

Golfers in this year's combined club championships will open play today at the Catamount Ranch & Club. They move Saturday to the the Sheraton Steamboat Resort before winding things up Sunday at the Haymaker.

Golfers have been assigned tee times and will begin play starting at 8 a.m. each day -- depending on weather.

"We've got a very strong field this year," Haymaker assistant professional Tim Fuhrer said. "It should be a very exciting tournament."

The men's field will include 77 players competing in six flights. The women's field will be made up of 18 players in two flights.

The top gross and net (with handicap) players in each division will be recognized with awards. Last year's overall men's champion, Boucher, and women's champion Barb Simms will return to defend their titles.

Boucher, the father of a 5-year-old, said his time on the golf course has been limited this year. He's elected to skip some big tournaments to spend more time with his family and keep up with work, but he said he wouldn't miss this tournament.

"It's a special thing because all of the golf courses get behind the event," Boucher said. "It's great to play for three days because you can screw up and still have some time to recover."

But the truth is that the format requires golfers to play consistently if they hope to win. Boucher said it eliminates the golfer who might get hot for just one round and requires a steady performance.

Boucher said this event is also a chance to get out and play three incredible golf courses in three days.

"If an avid golfer came to Steamboat Springs, they would want to play these three golf courses," Boucher said. 'We get to do it and it's a tournament. It doesn't get much better than that."

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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