Leading the Cowboys | SteamboatToday.com

Leading the Cowboys

Steamboat golfer has goals for senior season at Wyoming

— In high school Jeff Franks toyed with football, dished it out in hockey, and spent some time on the diamond playing baseball.

But his real passion was golf.

So it’s no surprise that three years after graduating from Steamboat Springs High School the competitive fire still burns in Franks, who has grown into a top golfer at the University of Wyoming, where he will open his final season in a few weeks.

“College golf has been a wonderful experience,” Franks said. “I’ve traveled around the country and met all kinds of great people.”

But there are a still a few things Franks wants to accomplish before his college journey comes to a close. He won the Air Force Falcon Invitational to open the 2004-05 season, but will be looking for another college victory this season to cap off his career. He would also like to qualify for the regional tournament at the end of the season.

“I’ve still got a couple of weeks left to enjoy summer, and then it will be back to work,” Franks said. “I think I will go to Lake Powell and just hang out for a few days. I plan to play some golf, but I’m not planning on playing in any tournaments.”

Last week, Franks took his shot at the 2006 HealthOne Colorado Open, which was held at Green Valley Ranch

Franks shot a 74 in Thursday’s opening round, but battled back on the second day to make the cut. Franks birdied three out of the last five holes to finish at 70 just before the field of 156 golfers was cut to the top 64.

“I didn’t feel any pressure to make the cut,” Franks said. “It was nice, but it wasn’t the only reason I was playing the tournament.”

Unfortunately, in the final two rounds Franks struggled with his irons. On Saturday Franks collected four birdies en route to a round of 71. But on Sunday, he could only manage one birdie and finished at 77.

“My drives were O.K., but I couldn’t get into a groove with my irons,” he said. “They were not there on Sunday, and they were not there all week.”

Pueblo’s Dustin White finished the tournament 17 strokes under par to take top honors at 267. Arizona golfer John Douma was two strokes back at 269 and New Mexico golfer Brian Kortan was four strokes off the pace at 271.

Most of the players in the field were professionals, including the top 12.

Franks finished eight strokes over par at 292 in a four-way tie for 57th. No too bad when you consider that the purse of $125,000 drew most of Colorado’s top prospects looking to make some money.

Despite the final results, Franks said the tournament was a positive experience as he moves toward the college season. It was the first time he has made the cut for the Colorado Open, which is one of the biggest tournaments in the state.

“It was a great field, and I learned a lot about the game and myself,” Franks said. “I’ll take that with me into the college season.”

That season is less than a month away. Franks will lead the Cowboys into the 2006-07 season this September when the team opens the season at the Air Force Academy Falcon Invitational in Colorado Springs.

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