Sailors looking for home victory

Steamboat golfers to host tournament at Haymaker course on Wednesday

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— Steamboat Springs High School golf coach Steve Dodson and his team will try to do something this week they haven't been able to do in Dodson's three years as coach.

The Sailors want to win their home tournament.

After more than a month of traveling, the golf team returns home this week to host the Sailor Invitational at Haymaker Golf Course on Wednesday. The tournament will feature 17 teams and more than 100 golfers.

"It'll be nice," Dodson said. "These long road trips and sleeping in motels hasn't been bad, but it's nice to play a couple of tournaments in our own neighborhood."

Bill Whelihan, golf course superintendent at Haymaker, said the course should be in ideal playing condition. Despite the first frost on Aug. 29, Whelihan said the tournament should provide golfers with a challenging course.

"It looks great now," Whelihan said. "The golf course will be in perfect position then."

For Dodson, whose team has won one tournament this year, the Sailor Invitational will help his team in several ways. First, it will allow Dodson to play his entire team. For the varsity members, it will provide an opportunity to play a competitive tournament at Haymaker - where the state tournament will be held in October.

"It's important for some of the kids to gain experience," Dodson said. "It's also important to defend our home course and home turf."

Dodson said the Sailor Invit-ational is scheduled for about the same time as another tournament at Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig to allow teams to get a chance to play golf at some of the best courses in Northwest Colorado.

It also will provide some of the top teams in the state with a sneak peek at the state tournament course.

But Whelihan said the course teams will play Wednesday for the Sailor Invitational will play a lot different from the one competitors will see at the state tournament. Because of cold weather and frost, Whelihan said he won't be able to mow as much in October.

"Theoretically, the golf course will be a little harder in October," Whelihan said. "The weather will make the golf course harder, I won't."

Still, Dodson encourages people to come out and watch the tournament, which has a 9 a.m. shotgun start.

"For the most part, other schools like playing Haymaker," he said. "They enjoy Steamboat and enjoy playing that golf course."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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