Sailor golf to host regionals Tuesday
4A golf regional
When: Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m.
Where: Haymaker Golf Course, located just east of Steamboat Springs on Highway 40
Why: The top team and next 10 individuals will qualify for the state golf tournament
Steamboat Springs — One would think competing at the state level provides much more pressure than regionals, but Steamboat Springs High School golf coach Andrew Donner said this isn’t the case.
“The regional is the most stressful event of the year, bar none. State is not nearly as stressful as regionals,” he said. “When you are out there on the driving range and you are watching your kids warm up, there is not a whole lot of conversation. You can feel the tension out there.”
This will be the case Tuesday, when the SSHS boys’ golf team hosts its Class 3A/4A regional at Haymaker Golf Course in Steamboat Springs. Barring any weather delays, teams are expected to tee off about 9 a.m. Tuesday with a spot in the state tournament on the line.
Donner is hoping the home-course advantage will pay off for the Sailors, which haven’t hosted a regional tournament since 2009.
“If you get off to a rocky start, you know what’s lying in front,” Donner said. “You know you can make some strokes up. You feel comfortable out on that golf course. I think that makes a big difference.”
SSHS hosted one tournament at Haymaker this year, taking second Sept. 3. However, the Sailors took first among 4A schools that day, including Montrose, which should be among the contenders at regionals.
Donner thinks SSHS, Montrose and Durango are the best bets to earn the lone team state qualifier. Outside of that one team, anyone else who makes it to state out of the Steamboat regional will have to do so as an individual.
Last year, SSHS fell short of the team title at regionals, but still qualified enough individuals to compete as a team at state, taking fifth. Among the Sailors’ state qualifiers last season were Britt Walton, who finished tied for sixth, and Will Firestone, who tied for 23rd.
Both Walton and Firestone are seniors this year and could each be serious contenders for the individual regional crown Tuesday.
“Britt has really turned into one of the better players, in my mind, in the state. And to me Will is one of the better players in all of 4A,” Donner said. “We have two horses out in front that can really get us going, and I have confidence in what Jack and Noah can do out there as well.”
Filling out the four-man regional team for Steamboat are seniors Jack Starkey and Noah Bass, giving the Sailors a lot of experience.
Competing in Tuesday’s 4A regional in Steamboat are SSHS, Durango, Montezuma-Cortez, Montrose, Battle Mountain, Delta, Eagle Valley, Palisade, Rifle and Summit. Haymaker is also hosting a Class 3A regional at the same time, which includes Moffat County.
“I’m pretty excited for regionals. I think it’s to your advantage any time you are hosting the tournament,” Donner said. “I like where we’ve been all season. We’ve been steadily progressing, in my mind. I think they’ve been looking forward to this all year.”
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