Steamboat Springs teen wins Haymaker junior golf title

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— It might have just been eggs, it might have just been a bowl of cereal or it might just be oatmeal, but on the off-chance that Erik Sobeck found a magic bean that causes incredible iron play, somebody probably should ask what the 17-year-old had for breakfast before the Haymaker Junior Golf Championships on Friday.

Sobeck played like a man possessed on Friday’s front nine, birdieing the second, third and fourth holes, bogeying the seventh hole and then sinking an eagle on nine. He made the turn with a 32. Unfortunately, the magic beans ran out on the back nine, and Sobeck posted double bogeys on the 11th and 13th holes.

“Erik played really well on the front and was able to put together a good round in the end,” said Tom Taylor, head golf professional at Haymaker Golf Course.

Sobeck’s final score of 72 was good enough to keep the tournament’s boys championship title with a Steamboat resident, as he edged out Andrew Huber, of Chicago, who shot a 74, and Jake Lauinger, from Texas, who posted a 78.

“It was good to have a local winner at the tournament,” Sobeck said. “It’s definitely a confidence boost because I know I can perform under pressure and at the next level, which is the high school game.”

Sobeck, a member of the Steamboat Springs High School golf team, begins his official season in the team’s first tournament this weekend, and he is hoping some of the momentum from Friday's win will carry over.

“I think this will let him get right into that tournament mode,” Taylor said.

The top three finishers in the younger divisions of the tournament, who only played five holes on the day, were Travis Seitz, Mike Dinapoli and Jackson Foote for the boys and Olivia Doyle, Nicole Doyle and Riley Schutt for the girls.

The tournament, which usually doesn’t draw too many players in the girls division, attracted a larger field of ladies youth players this year.

“The best part, to be honest, was having a new group of young girls come out and play,” Taylor said. “I love the guys, but that program seems to be growing well already, so it’s nice seeing the girls maybe heading in that direction.”

With tournaments like the Haymaker Junior Golf Tournament giving youth golfers a chance to compete locally, the boys and girls of Steamboat Springs can continue to improve their game and produce rounds that make you question the existence of a “magic golf bean."

“The best part of the tournament for me was just being able to stay home and compete,” Sobeck said. “Usually, you have to head down to the Front Range, but we got to play in our own backyard, which is nice.”

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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