Steamboat golf team's Petersen wins in Rifle

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— There always is a sense in golf when an athlete is playing well that things could come together for a magical round.

For Steamboat Springs High School golfer Spencer Petersen, that feeling, that confidence and that round came together Thursday in Rifle.

The junior shot a 1-over par 73 on Friday, earning his first high school win. Petersen won the tournament on the fist playoff hole.

“I’d been playing pretty well for the last week leading up to the tournament,” he said. “I’d been hitting the ball well. I was not thinking I was going to win though. But I played pretty lights out the entire day.”

Petersen shot 39 on the front nine.

Entering the tough Rifle back nine, complete with massive elevation changes and deceptive shots, Petersen said he refocused his mind and stared playing really well.

“It blew me away how well he hit the ball,” assistant coach Andrew Donner said.

Petersen carded birdies at 10, 11, 13 and 18 on his way to a back nine 34.

He said he used long irons and hybrids off the tee.

His birdie on 18 was the highlight, though.

After pulling his drive in the rough, Petersen hit his approach to the back of the green. He was left with a lengthy putt — Donner called it 40 feet and Petersen said 75 — for birdie.

“I thought, ‘Just get out with a par, and you’ll shoot 74,” Petersen said. “I probably put too much speed, but I had the line. It hit the back of the cup and fell.”

On the first playoff hole, the No. 1 handicapped first, Petersen stepped up to the box and striped a hybrid down the middle.

He went on to make bogey, but it was good enough for the win.

“This is a great confidence booster,” he said. “I used to go into tournaments hoping I’d break 80. I know I can do way better than just break 80. I have a chance to be at the top now.”

The team next plays Monday at Bookcliff Golf Course in Grand Junction.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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