Steamboat golfers enter Day 2 of state tournament in 9th place |

Steamboat golfers enter Day 2 of state tournament in 9th place

Luke Graham

— Steamboat Springs High School’s golf team played well Monday, but when you’re facing 84 of the state’s best golfers, it takes more than a couple of pretty good rounds to stay at the top.

On a cold and rainy opening day of the state tournament at Highlands Ranch Golf Club in Littleton, Kaelen Gunderson paced the Sailors with a 75, Scott Ptach shot 76, and Alan Capistron finished with an 81. Steamboat’s team score of 232 left them in ninth place, 20 shots back of Valor Christian.

Rock Canyon is in second with a 213, and D’Evelyn is in third at 223. Today is the second and final day of the state tournament.

Montrose’s Drew Trujillo fired the low round of the day, a 6-under-par 66. D’Evelyn’s Sam Phillips is second with a 68, and Matt Porter from Rock Canyon and Wyndham Clark from Valor Christian are tied in third at 69.

“Yeah, I really didn’t play that bad,” Gunderson said. “I had a couple bad holes. But it sucks. I came to win. If I’m playing my game, I think I could win this. I have to forget about (Monday). I know what I’m doing wrong. I just have to keep making good contact. Other than that, (today) should be better.”

The Sailors simply had too many putts Monday. On the fast and undulating greens of Highlands Ranch, Steamboat struggled to figure out the flat stick.

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Ptach and Gunderson each had 33 putts, while Capistron had 36.

Capistron, a junior, hit the ball well all day. His 13 greens in regulation was a personal best in tournament play. But a four-putt on No. 2 seemed to set the tone for him. He double-bogeyed that hole and No. 12. He had birdies on Nos. 1 and 18.

“Thirty-six putts isn’t going to cut it,” said Capistron. “I hit the ball very good (Monday). A couple distances were off, but I was hitting it really good.”

Both Ptach and Gunderson were on pace to shoot low rounds.

Gunderson had it going on the front nine. He birdied Nos. 4 and 9 on his way to a 1-under-par 35. But when he got to No. 14, his drive found the deep rough, leading to a double bogey. He bogeyed 16 and 17 to come out in 40.

Gunderson struggled to control the distance on his irons on the back nine. So while he was hitting his driver well, his irons left him with tougher-than-usual birdie putts.

“Just about every one I’d catch it thin and give myself like a 40-foot putt,” Gunderson said.

Ptach was at even par through 11 holes after making birdie at the par-five 11th. There he hit his drive in the fairway bunker. But with a good lie, Ptach hit his utility club from 260 yards onto the green.

From there, however, things started to go wrong.

He bogeyed 12, 16, 17 and 18. He hit his drive out of bounds on No. 18 before canning a 20-footer for bogey.

“I want to shoot another solid round of golf,” he said. “There were some good scores that came in (Monday). To improve a little bit, that would be good. Hopefully, I can get into the top 10.”

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