When the members of the Steamboat Springs golf team arrived in Battlement Mesa on Wednesday, senior Kenton Gamache was hoping just to earn a spot in this year's regional tournament.
But by late Thursday afternoon, the Sailor not only played, but, like his team, won a regional championship.
"I wanted to make the most of it after beating Tucker (Smalley)," said Gamache, who competed with Smalley for the fourth and final spot on the Sailors' regional team. "I didn't want that effort to go to waste."
His even par 72 helped the Sailors cruise to a 15-stroke win over defending state champion Montrose on Thursday.
The Sailors finished with a team score of 220 to win the regional tournament for the second year in a row. Montrose finished second for the second straight year with a team score of 235. Both teams will advance to the state tournament to be held Oct. 4 and 5 in Colorado Springs.
Roaring Fork was third with 238, Gunnison finished fourth at 239, and Delta was fifth at 242.
Gamache said Wednesday's playoff round inspired him to play better in the final round. He shot a 75 on the same Battlement Mesa course to earn the spot on the Sailors squad and then backed it up by finishing with a 72 when it counted.
Gamache's teammate, senior Hans-Peter Bacher, shot a 73, and senior Ryan Brees shot a 75 to give Steamboat its team total. Steamboat sophomore Paul Berry finished with a round of 77. The only downside of the week was that Smalley, Steamboat's No. 5 guy, didn't get the chance to play.
Steamboat golf coach Steve Dodson said it was very difficult to trim this year's squad down to the four golfers who played Thursday. He said that Smalley was a key player all season and that his attitude and support Thursday were big parts of the team's success on the course.
"It's a real strong showing," Dodson said.
He said the team's scores were the result of coming up with a solid game plan before Thursday's round and then having his players stick to it on the course.
"Our players did a great job of course management," Dodson said. "That's reflected in the scores."
Dodson said he was surprised that Montrose wasn't closer in the final team standings.
"They have a very good team," Dodson said. "A few of their players must have gotten into trouble somewhere along the course is all I can figure."
Dodson expects the rival squad will rebound at next week's state championship, which will be held at the Country Club of Colorado in Colorado Springs.