Gypsum Thursday's tournament at Cotton Ranch Golf Course was part of Steamboat Springs High School golf coach Steve Dodson's big plan.
Dodson knew the course would be tough and scores would be high, but he wants to get his players as much time as possible on courses that mirror Devil's Thumb, where the regional tournament will be held next month.
Despite the tough course, the Sailors shot a team score of 242, five shots behind first place Basalt and good enough for second place.
"What makes this course difficult is the wind," Dodson said. "We encountered some wind, and all of the guys have never played here before. We did the best we could do reviewing, and they did a good job of trying to feel their way around the golf course."
The total of 242 is more than 10 shots higher than the Sailors' season average. Dodson said Cotton Ranch demanded precise tee shots and solid iron play - something the Sailors will have to do at Devil's Thumb.
Michael Weston shot 78, good enough for third place. Dodson said if not for two bad holes, Weston would have been the low medalist. Basalt's Jim Knous won the tournament with a 75.
Cody Fritz's 80 and Billy Taylor's 84 rounded out Steamboat's team score. Jake Dombrowski shot 87, and Tucker Campbell shot 89.
The Sailors were without their top golfer, Paul Berry. Berry was out on the West Coast visiting colleges.
"If we put our ace in there, we may come away with a win," Dodson said. "But that's OK, these kids battled. There was no harm done. It was good for them."
Thursday was the third tournament Basalt has won this year. They also have finished in the top three two other times.
"They've got great players," Dodson said. "They didn't play their best today. Their scores reflect the difficulty of the course."
Dodson said that if Steamboat hopes to catch Basalt, the team will have to work hard. But with this group of golfers, he said he's not worried.
"I think it was a good warmup," he said. "We still have work to do, and they know what they need to do. They're focused as a team. They know what our goal is as a team."
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