Steamboat Springs Butch Boucher saved his best for last during the Steamboat Springs Combined Club Championships over the weekend.
The defending champion fired his best round on Sunday -- the final day of the three-day event -- to reclaim his title from a field of worthy opponents.
"I had a good day of golf," Boucher said. "Haymaker is my home course, and it really suits my game. It helps a lot that the final round was at Haymaker. I just feel a lot more comfortable there."
Boucher opened Sunday's final round tied with John Vanderbloemen and two strokes behind leader Michael Goode.
It didn't take long for Boucher to catch Goode and then pull away from the field to win the event with a three-day total of 232.
Both Goode and Vanderbloemen struggled on the final day, finishing with rounds of 85. Meanwhile Kip Tirone, who was playing in the group ahead of the leaders, was the only other golfer to threaten Boucher. He finished second in the gross with a total of 237.
Tirone was the top net golfer for the week in the (Doak Walker) championship flight.
Boucher is now a two-time winner of the combined club championship.
On the women's side, D.J Edwards rebounded from a terrible start on the opening hole at Catamount Ranch and Club Friday to win the women's championship flight.
"I opened up with an eight on my first hole," Edwards said. "I thought 'that's it, I'll never win.'"
But on the second hole, Edwards, the club champion at the Sheraton Resort, realized there was still a lot of golf left to be played and stayed positive.
"Mentally, you can't get down on yourself after you have a bad hole," Edwards said.
Edwards finished at 263 to beat out Paula Stephenson in the women's (Hazie Werner) championship flight. Stephenson was second at 275 and Deb Benak was third at 277.
Other gross winners (without handicap) in last weekend's championships included John Reed (238) in the "Vic Steiner" flight, Roger Reynolds (260) in the "Jack Camp" flight, Tim Vanwyngarden (272) in the "Robert Trent Jones Jr." flight, Mark Witcher (269) in the "Keith Foster" flight, and Vic Greenlee (290) in the "Tom Weiskopf" flight.
Edwards topped the "Hazie Werner" flight for the women and Linda Danter (281) won the "Skeeter Werner" flight.
Net winners (which includes handicap) included Kip Tirone (228) in the "Doak Walker" flight, Scott Berry (215) in the "Vic Steiner" flight, Mike Wommack (215) in the "Jack Camp" flight, Pat Lichtenstein (223) in the "Robert Trent Jones Jr." flight, Craig Denton (213) in the "Keith Foster" flight, and Jeff Nelson (210) in the "Tom Weiskopf" flight.
Deb Benak (223) topped the net in the women's "Hazie Werner" flight and Ruth McClelland (216) won the "Skeeter Werner" flight.
Tournament director Tim Fuherer said this year's combined club championship was successful because of the work of all three golf courses and their maintenance crews.
"The courses were in great shape and I think everybody had a great time," Fuherer said. "This tournament's popularity is a credit to those people."
Traditionally the tournament is held in the fall, but organizers are considering moving the event to earlier in the summer.
The hope is that the event will avoid the unpredictable fall weather that has marred the event in the past.
It doesn't matter to Boucher if the tournament is held in the early summer or fall -- he plans on playing.
"This tournament is just a lot of fun," Boucher said. "It's not like just going out and playing. The courses are in perfect condition, and the whole feel of the event is like playing in a professional tournament.
"I'm just glad the courses work together and offer local golfers this kind of opportunity."
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
or e-mail email@example.com