Testing the best

Combined Championships open for entries

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— The Steamboat Springs Combined Club Championships are still more than a month away, but golfers who want to secure their spot can sign up now at the Haymaker Golf Course.

Haymaker golfing professional Hank Franks said golfers could start entering the annual end-of-summer tournament this week. The field will be limited to the first 80 (64 men, and 16 women) golfers to sign up for the three-day tournament, which features rounds at the Catamount Ranch & Club, Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club and Haymaker.

"This is a tremendous chance to play three of the finest golf courses in Northwestern Colorado," Franks said. "This is one of our most popular tournaments every summer."

Cost to enter the event is $150 and includes green fees, and practice range. Golfers who wish to use a cart will have to pay for them.

The tournament, which is scheduled for Sept. 8-10, will divide golfers into six different flights based on ability. The three-day format will combine the scores from each course, and the best golfer at the end of the event will be crowned champion.

Last year Steve Dodson won the men's title, and Paula Stephenson topped the women's field. Dodson has won the combined championship six times during his career.

"There are a lot of good golfers in Steamboat Springs," Dodson said. "I am very aware that on any given day, any of those golfers can win this tournament."

Dodson has been drawn to the tournament because of its extended format and the level of competition that shows up to play.

"There are lots of club championships and city championships around the state," Dodson said, "but I can't think of another where golfers get to play three championship golf courses."

The tournament will open at the Catamount Ranch & Club on Sept. 8. It will continue at the Sheraton on Sept. 9 and conclude at the city-owned Haymaker Golf Course on Sept. 10.

The tournament was started several years ago and used to include the Steamboat Golf Club, Sheraton and Haymaker. But four years ago the smaller Steamboat Golf, which only offers nine holes, was dropped in favor of Catamount's 18-hole layout.

Franks said the decision was based on having three 18-hole venues. It also allowed the tournament to grow in size, and avoided many of the issues of fitting a 9-hole course into the equation.

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