Golfers shoot for state |

Golfers shoot for state

Regional tournament opens Wednesday

— Veteran golfers Ryan Brees and Kenton Gamache would like nothing more than to return to the state high school golf championships this fall.

But to do that, the Steamboat golfers know they need to have their best day of the season at Wednesday’s regional qualifier in Montrose.

“Hopefully, we will peak the same way we did last year,” Brees said.

To make it to state, Steamboat will need to finish in either first or second place at the tournament, which will be played at the Black Canyon at Montrose Golf Club.

“It’s not the hardest course we’ve ever played, but its not easiest either,” Gamache said. “The front nine is pretty tight, so it’s pretty easy to find the trees if you’re not hitting the ball well.”

Gamache and Brees are the only two Sailor golfers on this year’s team that have played at the state tournament. Last year, the pair accompanied seniors Jeff Franks and Cody Sherrill to state championships, where Steamboat finished second as a team to state champion Mullen.

This year, the Steamboat veterans will be joined by Paul Berry and Tucker Smalley, who will be making their first regional playoff appearance.

On Monday, between drives at the Sheraton practice range, Brees said he isn’t thinking about what happened at the state championships last year or feeling any additional pressure to make it back in 2003.

“I’m not thinking about that stuff,” Brees said. “I just want to have some fun and play like I know I can.”

Gamache has a similar outlook to Wednesday’s tournament. He knows that if the Sailors want to make it back to state he will need a solid round, but he also knows to do that he will need to stay relaxed.

“I feel pretty confident about going to Montrose,” Gamache said. ” I had some good rounds there earlier this year and hopefully I will be able to do it again.”

Steamboat got off to a slow start this year as a team, but things started to come around for the veterans last week during the final road trip of the season.

Steamboat finished third in Rifle and in Battlement Mesa, and the golfers feel primed for Wednesday’s regional.

Assistant coach Luke Brosterhous thinks things started to turn around for Steamboat at Haymaker on Sept. 3 when the Sailors won the only home tournament of the season.

“I think winning at Haymaker sparked some confidence with this team,” Brosterhous said. ‘It was awesome to watch the younger players at that tournament and I think it helped some of our veterans relax a little bit.”

The coach said he knows it will be difficult for the Steamboat players to relax this week in Montrose, but that will be important if the Steamboat team wants to be successful.

“I keep trying to remind them that this isn’t life and death,” Brosterhous said. “It’s a great opportunity to succeed and have some fun.”

Smalley is expecting a tough run at the regional tournament.

“Montrose is the home team and they are going to have a huge advantage,” Smalley said. “But we’ve played it a couple times this year, so we should be ready.

Steamboat played the course twice in the early part of the season. The team will leave Tuesday for another practice round before Wednesday’s state qualifying event.

The first- and second-place regional teams will advance to the state tournament, to be held Sept. 29 and 30 in Alamosa. The top seven individual golfers, who are not members of qualifying teams, will also get an invitation to state.

— To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail

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