Steamboat Springs If Erik Sobeck was nervous about his first trip to the state high school golf tournament, it didn’t show Thursday afternoon.
The top prep golfer was all smiles, joking as he prepared for a practice round with high school golf coach Steve Dodson. He seemed to be keeping his trip to the Pelican Lakes Golf Club in Windsor in perspective.
“I’m just psyched to go out and play my best,” Sobeck said just before driving his tee shot down the middle of the No. 10 hole at Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club. “Sure, I’m a little nervous because this is all new to me.”
The Steamboat Springs High School sophomore will be the school’s only representative at the 4A state high school golf championships, which begin Sunday with a practice round.
Sobeck will tee off on the No. 10 hole at 10:09 a.m. for the first official round Monday. His finish will determine where he starts in the final round Tuesday in Windsor. Sobeck is coming off a career-best 76 in Rifle to qualify for state.
“I know it’s going to feel different down there,” Sobeck said. “But I’m just going to focus on playing my game the same way I usually do. I don’t want to think about the mechanics of my swing. … I just want to swing the club the same way I always swing the club.”
Dodson has high hopes for the sophomore and is proud that Sobeck will represent the high school and the community of Steamboat Springs at state.
But Dodson doesn’t want to put any added pressure on the young player.
“This is a new course for most of the field, and the players are going to have to adapt on the fly,” Dodson said. “Erik is very good at doing that, so I think he will be fine. But I really just want him to enjoy the experience. This is something he can hang on his wall for a lifetime. I want him to look around, enjoy the golf and enjoy the competition. The number he puts up on the scoreboard really doesn’t matter.”
Sobeck said he doesn’t plan to focus on scores or finishing in the top 10 this time around. If that happens, he said, it will be a plus.
“This is my first trip, and I’ve still got two more years,” Sobeck said. “I’m just hoping to go down and learn from the experience, and we will just have to see what happens.”
Sobeck has not played the course, which measures 7,219 yards from the longest tees and was created around five lakes when it was built in 1999. Golfers will have to be cautious of water hazards on this course; in addition to the lakes, the 18-hole course crosses the Cache la Poudre River four times.
Sobeck said it looks like the course is pretty wide open, but with that much water, he knows he will have to work to stay out of trouble.
— To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com