Steamboat Springs The possibilities are endless for Michael Weston.
Already the No. 1 golfer for the Steamboat Springs High School golf team, Weston is on the brink of becoming one of the elite golfers on the Western Slope.
The senior carded a 3-over-par 75 on Wednesday at the Sailor Invitational at Haymaker Golf Course, finishing tied for fourth place, just three shots behind low medalist Jim Knous of Basalt.
Steamboat finished third as a team, with a score of 237. Fruita Monument finished first at 232, and Battle Mountain finished second at 236.
Along with Weston's strong showing for the Sailors, fellow senior Billy Taylor ended an up-and-down round with a 79. Kaelen Gunderson, Scott Ptach and Cam Fritz all fired rounds of 83 on a nice day for golf at Haymaker.
Although Weston was pleased with his round, Steamboat coaches Steve Dodson and Scott Berry believe the lanky senior can go lower.
Like three, four or even five shots lower.
"I'm happy now, but to cut off a few more strokes I just have to keep grinding," Weston said. "Maybe just go through and take out all of the unforced errors."
On Wednesday, though, Weston showed just the type of grinding that may take him to the next level.
After shooting 38 on the front nine, Weston shot a 1-over, 37 on the back.
It was the 37 on the back nine that should have the coaches smiling with the regional tournament in Cortez two weeks away.
Weston hit all but one fairway on the backside but hit only two greens in regulation. But where Weston's midirons betrayed him, the flat stick more than made up for it. He had only 11 putts on the backside - and 27 in his round - including one-putts on holes 12, 14, 15, 16 and 18.
"Anytime you have under 30 putts, it is a good putting day," Weston said. "I've always been a decent putter. I just like putting and practice it a lot. That's always been my strong point."
After a bogey on No. 17 because of a tee shot long and left, Weston came back with an easy up-and-down birdie on hole 18 to finish his round.
"My short game pretty much saved me," Weston said. "I had to scramble my way through."
Weston's battling through the course was a microcosm of the Sailors' day.
Taylor, who shot a 39 on the front and 40 on the back, had a rollercoaster of a round.
After a double bogey on No. 8, he birdied hole nine after canning a 15-foot, downhill slider. Couple that with four bogeys and five pars on the back nine, and Taylor best summed up his round as inconsistent.
"I feel I'm pretty good at the mental game," said Taylor, who was the definition of a scrambler on the backside with an improbable up-and-down on hole 13. Taylor's second shot sailed long, left and into the deep rough. But after a pitch left him 15 feet from the pin, Taylor drained the par-saving putt.
"Some days I can fall apart, but I definitely think my mental game was there," he said.
With less than two weeks before the regional tournament in Cortez, Steamboat has two tournaments remaining, one of which is today's round in Craig.
Only several strokes separate the top teams heading into regionals - the top two teams at Cortez advance to state - and Taylor said he's confident the Sailors will send a team to the state tournament in Broomfield.
"As an individual, I feel very confident, especially getting some rounds in the 70s this year. I know I can do it now," Taylor said. "As a team, I think we should play very well these next couple of weeks."