Sailors have early season jitters

Steamboat Springs golf team finishes fifth in first tournament

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— The good news is it was the first tournament of the year.

The bad news - if you can call it that - is the Steamboat Springs High School golf team didn't play to its potential Thursday at Battlement Mesa Golf Club.

"It was first-tournament jitters," said coach Steve Dodson, whose team shot a combined score of 256 to finish in a tie for fifth place. "We discovered we need to work on our game and improve a little bit."

Although Dodson admitted Steamboat struggled a bit in the opening tournament of the year, the team wasn't alone in its troubles on one of the toughest courses in the region.

Of the more than 50 players at Thursday's tournament, only three shot in the 70s.

Delta - considered by many to be the team to beat on the Western Slope this year - won the tournament with a team score of 244.

Senior Michael Weston led the Sailors with an 83, while Cam Fritz shot an 85 and Kaelen Gunderson shot 88. Cody Fritz shot an 89, and Billy Taylor shot 92.

"The expectations weren't that high. I'm not disappointed with any of them." Dodson said. "I had a good chance to observe them all. We'll go to work and improve."

Dodson said the mountain course that sits next to the Colorado River can humble the best of players, and based on the scores from Thursday, he's confident Steamboat will be in the mix come time for the regional tournament.

"The good news is if we knock 10 strokes off our team score we're right there," Dodson said.

With a slew of tournaments in the next two weeks - including today's in Glenwood Springs - Dodson said he expects at least three players to shoot in the 70s sooner rather than later.

"Our expectations are to be competitive and to finish in first place," Dodson said. "We want to be competitive and improve as the season goes along. Once regionals come around, we want to be peaking."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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