Golf team finishes first as regionals approach

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— The Steamboat Springs High School golf team had the kind of performance it needed Wednesday as the squad looks ahead to next week's regional tournament.

Playing on a tough Rifle course, the team tied Montrose for first place with a score of 244.

Michael Weston paced the Sailors with an 80. Billy Taylor shot an 81, Kaelen Gunderson shot an 83, Scott Ptach shot an 86 and Cody Fritz shot a 91.

Senior Cam Fritz was the low junior varsity medalist with a 79.

"It was kind of an up-and-down round," Cam Fritz said. "The front is easier than the back, but I shot 39 on the back and 40 on the front."

Considering the front nine at Rifle is very similar to the Cortez course where regionals will be played in a week, Steamboat coach Steve Dodson said he approached this tournament - and the whole week - as preparing for regionals.

"It was a feel-good day," Dodson said. "The timing is right. The last tournament of the year we tie for first."

While the back nine at Rifle presents several challenges because of its desert layout and elevation changes, Dodson said the tie for first should give the Sailors confidence as they head into the final week.

Considering most of the top teams from the region - except Basalt - were at the tournament, Dodson said he likes his team's chances of being one of the top two teams at the regional tournament to advance to the state tournament.

"I want the guys to feel good about what they accomplished (Wednesday) and carry a positive attitude into next week," Dodson said.

While six golfers went to the Rifle tournament, Dodson will have to cut that list to four for regionals.

He plans to announce the regional team at today's practice.

The only certainty is Weston, the Sailors' No. 1 golfer.

Weston has consistently shot in the 70s this season and said he feels confident with his and the team's game heading into Cortez.

"Anytime you get first, you feel good," Weston said. "It gives you confidence before going to regionals to know we can do it. I'm excited for next week and feel confident we'll put on a good showing."

The team will practice at Steamboat Golf Club today and at the Yampa Valley Golf Course in Craig on Friday.

The team leaves for Cortez on Tuesday.

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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