Steamboat Springs senior Erik Sobeck, shown at a tournament earlier this season, led the Sailors on the first day of the Class 4A high school golf championships at the Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen. Sobeck was 11 strokes off the pace set by Andrew Rademacher-Howe. The Silver Creek golfer shot a 69 on the opening day.

Joel Reichenberger/file

Steamboat Springs senior Erik Sobeck, shown at a tournament earlier this season, led the Sailors on the first day of the Class 4A high school golf championships at the Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen. Sobeck was 11 strokes off the pace set by Andrew Rademacher-Howe. The Silver Creek golfer shot a 69 on the opening day.

4A State Championship course challenges Steamboat golfers

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— Monday proved to be a battle between the Steamboat Springs High School trio of golfers and the Hiwan Golf Club terrain during the first round of the 4A State Championship.

4A Golf Championship

Sailors Day 1 Results

■ Tied at 17: Erik Sobeck, 80

■ Tied at 43: Brandon Martin, 85

■ Tied at 47: Britt Walton, 86

And for the most part, the course won, head coach Steve Dodson said.

Dodson and his players all said the course was Augusta National-esque. The greens were faster than anything Erik Sobeck, Brandon Martin and Britt Walton had ever experienced, and the mid-range game was a huge obstacle.

“It really challenged us. We knew it would be this way,” Dodson said. “If you’re not comfortable with conditions like this, a week worth of practice won’t prepare you enough.”

Followed by his parents and older brother, Sobeck carded a team-best 80 on the course, 11 shots off the lead. Martin shot an 85 and Walton an 86. Only one player in the 84-man field shot under par, as Silver Creek’s Andrew Rademacher-Howe sits atop the leader board with his first-round 69.

With Tuesday being the final round of the state championship — as well as Sobeck’s high school finale — the players are trying to take a positive approach to the challenging conditions.

“I think it definitely makes me a better golfer,” Sobeck said. “I think a super challenging course fits me better than some of the other golfers in the field because a lot of the kids lose their heads and give away shots, but I try to stay more even keel.”

In the team standings, Dodson said the three Sailors could end up anywhere from the middle of the pack to the bottom third. At the end of Day One, Sobeck is tied for 17th, Martin is tied for 43rd and Walton is tied for 47th.

Sobeck opened up the front nine with a 1-over 36, but he stumbled during holes 10 through 14, he said. Likewise, Martin was 1-under through the first three holes, but couldn’t keep pace, carding a plus-16 over in the final 16 holes.

The course wasn’t just chewing up Steamboat players, Martin said.

“I actually had one of the best scores in my group,” Martin said. “They were getting angry in my group. I think I held with most of the kids.”

Keeping a positive attitude was a trend with Dodson’s group as it heads into the final 18 holes of the season Tuesday. For Sobeck, however, it is the final round he will play as a Steamboat Sailor, and he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s my last round of high school golf ever, so I’ll still have a lot of fun,” Sobeck said. “I like doing this. I’m looking forward to it. It’s crazy to think it’s my last round already.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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