Sailors golf team, Kuhlman roll to regional titles in Fort Lupton
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Beck Kuhlman led the Steamboat Springs High School boys golf team at the Coyote Creek Golf Course in Fort Lupton on Thursday, posting a 73 to win the individual title at the Colorado High School Activities Association’s 4A Region III regional tournament.
His score, combined with teammates Tommy Henninger’s 79 and Travis Seitz’s 82, helped the Sailors edge out Fredrick for the regional title and earn a shot to play for a state title a week from now.
“The kids are super excited,” Sailors head coach Andrew Donner said. “I don’t know when we last won regionals. It’s definitely been a long time, and I know it hasn’t happened since I started coaching, and I’ve been a part of the team for nine years.”
The last time the Sailors won a regional title, according to former coach Steve Dodson, was the 2005 season. The Sailors sent a full team to the state tournament last year but did not win the coveted regional title.
Donner said the idea of winning the title didn’t cross his mind until half way through the regional round Sept. 26.
“It was about the ninth hole, and I kind of flipped it over from the individual to the team scoring,” Donner said. “When I looked down and added up the scores, it was like, ‘Wow, we were actually in the lead.’ It was kind of a little surprising.”
Donner said he kept the results to himself as his players finished up the final few holes, but as they exited the course at the end of their rounds, he let them know that winning was a possibility.
“I would tell them that I was pretty much sure that we just won because you guys played so well,” Donner said. “I think they were pretty excited and pretty happy with that.”
But despite the early calculations, the actual title would not be decided until the last players finished their rounds.
“I didn’t realize it had gotten down to one,” Donner said. “I thought we were up by three or four, and then when the final scores came in, all of the sudden I looked down, and it was just a one shot lead. It was a big putt on the last hole.”
In addition to the team title, Kuhlman also found himself battling for the individual title with Fredrick’s Nick Formby on the final hole. The Steamboat golfer had overcome a slow start to the day to put himself in the lead headed into the final hole, a par-5, at the end of the tournament.
“Beck asked me on the 18th tee, ‘Hey, am I in the lead?’” Donner said. “I didn’t want to tell them, so I said, ‘You’re right there.’”
But Kuhlman wanted a more specific answer and pressed his coach into telling him that he was in the lead. Kuhlman rewarded his coach with one of the best shots Donner has seen all season. Kuhlman put his approach shot just a foot from the hole and then tapped the putt into the hole to earn the individual title and, more importantly, give his team the regional title.
Kuhlman’s round — a 73 — was the best of the day. Henninger’s 79 earned him a ninth-place finish and Seitz’s 82 was good for 14th. Together, the three Steamboat golfers’ total of 234 was one stroke better than second-place Fredrick.
The top three out of four golfers are used for the final team score. Steamboat’s Colin Kagan also played, finishing with a round of 85 that was good for 22nd place. All four Steamboat Springs golfers will play in the Colorado High School Activities Association State High School Golf Championships.
The team will have this week to prepare for the state tournament, which will be played at the Bridges Golf & Country Club in Montrose on Monday, Oct. 7, and Tuesday, Oct. 8. The players will head down on Sunday, Oct. 6, for a practice round.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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