Haymaker Junior Golf Championship kicks off Friday

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— Eight-foot putts can cause your heart to pound, beads of sweat to pour from your forehead and your stomach to hang in limbo because they really do matter. The upcoming Haymaker Junior Golf Championship gives local youths a rare chance to sink those kind of putts with that kind of pressure.

“It actually get kids involved in a competitive arena. It gives them a chance to put some of those lessons to work in competition,” said Tom Taylor, head golf professional at Haymaker Golf Course. “I think we need to offer more events like this.”

Erik Sobeck, last year’s winner of the 14-and-older division and an eight-time participant, echoed that when he talked about why he liked playing in the tournament.

“I get to play on my home course, which is nice,” Sobeck said. “Living in a mountain town like this, you don’t really get too many opportunities to play in tournaments. So these local tournaments are actually super important.”

The tournament begins at 7 a.m. Friday and will separate boys and girls into three age groups. The 6- to 9-year-olds and 10- to 13-year-olds will tee up for nine holes, while the 14-and-older division will play 18. The cost of the tournament is $35 per participant, and sign up closes Thursday night. Call 970-870-1846 to register.

Taylor said the tournament is a great opportunity for area youths.

“It’s not all about winning. It’s not all about posting a score. It’s just always good to see kids having fun,” Taylor said. “They’re the future of our sport.”

Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

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