Last Thursday, local golfer Steve Dodson traveled to Cherry Hills Village to find inspiration watching the U.S. Women's Open.
On Friday, he returned to Steam--boat Springs and channeled the experience during his quest for his sixth Steamboat Springs Combined Club Championship.
"I think watching the (professional players) swing prepared me for last weekend," Dodson said. "It was great to watch their tempo, their swings and how they play the game."
Dodson shot a 74 on Friday at Catamount Ranch & Club, an even-par 72 Saturday at the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Resort and finished with a 75 on Sunday at the Haymaker golf course.
His three-round total of 221 was the best gross score in the Doak Walker Flight. It was 13 strokes better than second-place finisher Michael Goode who tied Dodson on the first day and fell two strokes off the pace after Saturday's round.
"I felt the key round was going to be the second round Saturday at the Sheraton," Dodson said. "Everyone plays the Haymaker, so I knew there were going to be some low scores in the final round. I felt like my best chance to separate would be on the second day, and that would allow me to apply some pressure Sunday."
Dodson opened the final round with back-to-back birdies, which helped him maintain his lead after scoring bogies on No. 3 and No.4.
But Dodson remained consistent on the back nine as Goode and the rest of the men's field fell off the pace.
"My plan was to go out fast, and I did that," Dodson said. "I don't make a lot of birdies, but I don't make a lot of bogies either."
If the play of the professional players at the U.S. Open was not enough to inspire Dodson, he had a couple of aces in his bag during the tournament.
Dodson dedicated the tournament in memory of his father, who died in February after battling cancer.
His parents have encouraged him to play the game since he was 6 years old, and Dodson said his father showed him the real values of the game.
"This was a wonderful tournament," said Tim Fuhrer, assistant golf professional at Haymaker. "The scoring in this tournament may have been the lowest in the history of the event."
Fuhrer said top quality players could be found in every division and that players needed to be consistent all three days if they wanted to place in this year's championships.
He also said that grounds crews at all three courses did an excellent job of making sure the course were in top shape all three days.