Thursday, September 8, 2005
Montrose might have one of the best prep golf teams in the state of Colorado, but on Thursday, Steamboat's Paul Berry stole the show at the Yampa Valley Golf Club in Craig.
Berry, who was four under after seven holes, finished his round at 72 to take top honors at the Moffat County Invitational Golf Tournament in Craig. A host of top Western Slope golfers -- Montrose's Erik Lundberg, Roaring Fork's A.J. Joiner and Rangely's Chris Hewitt -- were in the hunt for the title just one stroke off the pace at 73.
"I don't think Paul was really happy with his score," Steamboat coach Steve Dodson said. "He would have been a lot happier if he would have finished in the 60s. That's what he has been working for this season, and he had a real good chance of shooting in the 60s today."
Berry collected an eagle, two birdies and three pars in his first six holes at the Craig course and despite a double bogey on No. 8, made the turn at three under. But he struggled to make par on the back nine and lost ground to the other golfers in the field.
"He got kind of loose on the back nine,' Dodson said. "He had a couple of bogeys and let a golden opportunity get away."
Dodson said it was disappointing because he feels Berry is capable of shooting in the 60s on a regular basis, but said the young Steamboat golfer has not been able to do that this season.
"He's right there," Dodson said. "It's frustrating for him and the coaches. I think we are all just waiting and watching for it to happen."
However, they will all have to wait at least one more tournament.
Berry has shot an average score of 71 through nine tournaments this season and looks to be on track to make another state appearance in 2005.
The Sailors are scheduled to travel to River Valley Ranch Monday before wrapping up the regular season in Rangely on Sept. 16. The regional tournament will take place in Craig on Sept. 21, and state will take place at the Wellshire Golf Club in Denver Oct. 3-4.
While Berry continues his quest to break into the 60s, teammate Michael Weston continues to make a case for the Sailor's No. 2 spot.
On Wednesday, Weston shot a personal best 76 at Haymaker in Steamboat Springs. He followed that performance up with a 79 in Craig Thursday.
Teammates Tucker Campbell finished at 82 Thursday. Cody Fritz shot an 85, and Billy Taylor finished at 89.
Montrose won the team title in Craig with a combined score of 226. Fruita Monument, who won in Steamboat on Wednesday, finished in second at 232 and Steamboat was third at 233.
"We are getting closer all the time," Dodson said. "There were 20 teams in this tournament, which means we beat 17 of them. I'm proud of that fact."