Thursday, August 23, 2007
Steamboat Springs Eight strokes and 28 days.
Those currently are the only numbers that matter to the Steamboat Springs High School golf team.
Playing in Cortez on Wednesday, Steamboat finished with a team score of 240, eight strokes behind first-place Montrose.
In 28 days, on Sept. 19, the Sailors return to Cortez for a regional tournament that will earn the top two teams a spot in the upcoming state tournament in Broomfield.
"I'm a little disappointed, but we got a chance to play the golf course where we'll play for regionals," Steamboat coach Steve Dodson said of his team's second-place finish. "There's no doubt we'll be better for it."
To Steamboat's credit, not one player on the team had previously played the Cortez course. Scores for most of the Western Slope's best - Montrose, Basalt and Steamboat - all were a few strokes higher than normal.
"We're eight shots out of first place. We can easily improve on that," Dodson said. "We had some great moments, and some areas we obviously got to work on."
Michael Weston provided a lot of those great moments Wednesday.
The senior fired a 3-over-par 75, good enough for third place individually.
"He had a real good round," Dodson said. "He played well."
Teammates Scott Ptach (80), Kaelen Gunderson (82), Billy Taylor (83), Cody Fritz (84) and Cam Fritz (86) all contributed to the Sailors' cause.
The tournament also showed just how close the competition will be for the coveted two spots to state.
Montrose, Basalt, Cortez, Steamboat and Rifle all were within nine strokes of each other at Wednesday's tournament. Dodson said all those teams will again battle for one of the top spots at the regional tournament.
"It's five teams vying for two spots," Dodson said.
A bonus for the Sailors is how the layout of the Cortez course suits Steamboat's game.
The short course, with tight fairways, plays to Steamboat's strength off the tee, Dodson said. The coach added that the Sailors must improve their short games around the green. He said so far this season, shots have been mostly lost to either short-game gaffs or mental errors.
While Dodson won't be able to bring six golfers to the regional tournament - the Sailors will have to find their best four - Dodson said he feels more confident after Wednesday's round.
"I still feel good about the golf course and about my kids," he said. "But we've got some competition. Since they only take two teams to state we'll have to improve. But we'll adjust our gameplan and attack it a little different come September."