With a stroke average of 71.2, there is no question that Paul Berry is among the top golfers on the Western Slope this season.
But he isn't going to let his accomplishments on the golf course this fall influence his preparations for the regional and state golf tournaments.
Instead of cruising into the final week of the season, Berry, a Steamboat Springs High School player, elected to return to the basics Saturday by taking some lessons.
"Paul took a lesson on Sat-urday and is trying to make some swing changes," his father and assistant coach, Scott Berry, said. "I don't think he was comfortable with the changes on Monday, but he still has time to work on some things before the regional tournament."
Paul Berry has been in the running for top individual honors at 11 of the 12 tournaments the Sailors have competed in since August. He has won two of them. But in Monday's tournament at River Valley Ranch, he was well off the pace set by Basalt's James Knous.
Knous shot a 72 to lead the field in the second-to-last regular-season tournament of the year.
Roaring Fork's A.J. Joiner was second with a 73, and Berry finished a distant third with a round of 76.
Steamboat's Michael Weston shot an 85, and Tucker Campbell turned in an 86 to complete the Sailors' scoring.
Glenwood and Basalt shared the team title with scores of 241. Steamboat was seven strokes back at 247, and Roaring Fork and Rifle tied for fourth at 249.
Steamboat is scheduled to finish the regular season Friday in Rangely; however, Scott Berry said most of the team's varsity players are not expected to play. Instead, they'll rest for the regional match in Craig on Sept. 21.
Scott Berry said his son's decision to work on his swing this week reflects his goals of winning regional and state titles. After consistently shooting in the low 70s, the young golfer hopes the swing changes will help him shoot the scores he needs to contend for the state crown.
Scott Berry also is optimistic about the Sailors' chances of returning to the state tournament as a team. After opening the season with a group of inexperienced and unproven players, Scott Berry said the team has come on strong in recent weeks.
"At the start of the season, the idea of this team making it to state was a pipe dream," he said. "But I think that both Michael and Tucker are coming on and could be in the mid-70s next week. I think this team has a very good chance of making it to state."
-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org