Junior golfers’ season finally ends
Steamboat Springs — Among the many exciting, cool moments that came with the Steamboat Springs junior PGA golf team’s trip last weekend to compete in Tulsa, Okahoma, was when the players were announced, just like Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlroy.
“It was a very official setup,” said Andrew Donner, who joined with Luke Brosterhous to help coach the 11 athletes who competed in the program this summer, came together as a local all-star team and earned the trip to Oklahoma.
“They did a big announcement, ‘Representing the State of Colorado…’ to introduce the kids,” he said. “It was incredible.”
It was also a nerve-wracking, stomach-churning atmosphere the likes of which a dozen young golfers from Steamboat had never before seen.
“Max Rotermand, he gets up there for his first drive and hits his ball straight down the middle,” Donner said. “He turns around and says, ‘I’m so glad that’s over with.’”
The nerves calmed down, and Donner said the team played well, though not well enough to advance. After winning the first phases of the tournament late in the summer against a Grand Junction team, a Colorado Springs squad and a Denver team, the Steamboat team’s adventure ended with three losses in round robin play in Tulsa.
“They beat us up a little bit, but our kids really competed,” Donner said. “It would come down to the last hole every time.”
In addition to Rotermund, the team consisted of Tommy Henninger, Ollie Rotermund, Jack Thompson, Colton Sankey, Caleb Anderson, Travis Seitz, Mike Dinapoli and Zach Walsh, all from Steamboat, plus two players from Craig, Ryan Peck and Dave Andujo.
They played teams from Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma in the super regional Junior PGA competition.
The team had bright spots on the course, such as when Henninger and Ollie Rotermund beat their opponents from Missouri. Donner said the real highlights, however, were elsewhere.
For the athletes, it was the trip itself.
“It’s hard to put into words how cool the experience was,” Donner said.
He said the trip was a highlight for all of golf in the region, too.
“It’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to junior golf in this town,” he said. “We’ve had so much feedback from parents, from other kids asking about the league. It’s really drawn a huge amount of interest, and we’re really excited for next summer to see what kind of impact this has moving forward.”
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