Sailors golf team plays host Wednesday

23 teams from across the state come to Steamboat to compete at Haymaker

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If you go

What: Steamboat Sailors Invitational golf tournament

When: 9 a.m. shotgun start Wednesday

Where: Haymaker Golf Course

Sailors shootout still has room

The Sept. 21 Sailors Golf Shoot-Out golf tournament still has room for players or teams. The tournament at Catamount Ranch & Club benefits all area youth golf programs with an emphasis on the Steamboat Springs High School golf team.

The format is a four-person modified best ball. Play begins at noon Sept. 21. The cost is $175 a person and includes a gift, lunch, use of a golf cart and a post-tournament awards ceremony. For more information or to sign up, call Steve Dodson at 879-9045 or Tom Taylor at 846-4420.

— Fresh off a career-best round, Kaelen Gunderson doesn't hesitate about his goal is for Wednesday's Steamboat Sailors Invitational.

"I expect to win, to be honest," said Gunderson, a Steamboat Springs High School senior who shot a 4-under-par 68 in Montrose last week. "My game has never been where it is right now. I'm feeling good about how I'm hitting the ball. I'm making good contact, and I feel good about my short game."

The tournament starts at 9 a.m. and will feature 23 high school teams from across the state. Adding to its significance is that the Class 3A and 4A regional tournament will be played Sept. 22 at Haymaker. That means most of the top teams in the region will make the trip to Steamboat this week.

"Everybody takes this opportunity to get an additional look at the golf course," Steamboat coach Steve Dodson said. "I'm sure the kids will be taking notes out there."

Steamboat, Cortez, Montrose and Battle Mountain are expected to battle for the top spot Wednesday and at the regional tournament.

Dodson said he's talked to his varsity players about not concerning themselves with what other players do.

"I pretty much told the varsity kids I don't want you guys to think about Cortez or Montrose or any other school out there," Dodson said. "Take care of your own business and beat the golf course. If you beat the golf course, the score will happen."

Gunderson and fellow senior Scott Ptach admit there's more pressure when playing on their home course. Although the two will try to not let the pressure affect them, or what the other teams do, they said there certainly will be butterflies when they tee off Wednesday.

"It's difficult to do," Ptach said. "You have to worry about your own shots especially. If they hit good shots, you can't worry about them. I don't know how you exactly do it. It's something you have to fight."

Dodson encouraged local golfers and fans to come out and watch high-level high school competition. Considering the Sailors spend most of the year on the road, Dodson said this could be one of the only chances to see them play.

"Unfortunately, we only have one home game and 10 away games," said Dodson, noting the round will probably take more than five hours because of the number of players. "We'll finally be at home and host a tournament. The guys love to see some support. Hopefully, people take a long lunch break and walk a few holes with us."

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

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