Golfers receive awards

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— After winning six tournaments and a regional title, Sailors golf coach Steve Dodson wasn't surprised that four members of the squad earned all-conference honors.

However, he admits being a little shocked when he was named "Coach of the Year" during the annual awards dinner, which was held between rounds of the regional tournament Sept. 22 at Battlement Mesa.

"It was totally unexpected," Dodson said. "But it's an award I take great pride in accepting. It will hang on my wall where it will reflect a special season and a real special team. ... It's an honor."

But it wasn't the only honor for a team that has dominated play this season across the Western Slope and will take aim at a state championship next week.

The Sailor's No. 1 player, Hans --Peter Bacher, was named to the all-conference first team.

Bacher, an exchange student from Austria, won a tournament at the Tiara Rado golf club with a round of 71. He also tied for first in Rifle with a round of 70. Unfortunately, he lost in a playoff and ended up second.

Bacher has been one of the most consistent Steamboat golfers this season, finishing with the lowest stroke average on the team at 73.5.

Sailors Ryan Brees and Paul Berry were named to the all-conference second team. Brees finished the season with a stroke average of 75, and Berry finished at 75.5.

Brees won a tournament at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale with a 69. Brees has trimmed nearly nine strokes from his game since the end of last year and is the most improved golfer on the team.

Berry topped the field at Eagle Ranch in Vail with a round of 67. He has dropped three strokes since last year and is always a threat to win.

The final Sailor to earn top honors from the conference was Kenton Gamache, who was named as honorable mention.

Gamache shaved 6.5 strokes off his game this season to finish with a stroke average of 75. His crowning moment actually came the day after the all-conference honors were handed out. He won the regional championship at Battlement Mesa with a 72.

Dodson said he thought that senior Tucker Smalley also was deserving of all-conference honors .

But the coach said a broken arm that kept the senior off the course for more than half the season hurt his chances.

"He had to deal with a serious injury," Dodson said. "He returned to the team and played some very good golf and really should have been named to the team."

Smalley won a tournament in Montrose in the final week of the regular season and despite his late start, finished with a stroke average of 78.

Dodson said he was proud of all his players and the improvements they have made this season. But he said the team could not have done it without the support of the local golfing community.

He said the pros, superintendents, and all four golf courses in Steamboat have gone beyond the call of duty to support this team.

Dodson said the team also has gotten support from many local businesses during the course of the season. Their influence has helped the team enjoy a great deal of success this season, he said.

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