Sailors golfers feel the pressure at home, take third
After being on the road since mid-August, the Steamboat Springs golf team hosted its home event at Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
The boys started off strong with impressive performances on the front nine, but fell flat on the back nine and ultimately earned a third-place finish.
“The home tournament is a hard deal,” said head coach Andrew Donner. “There’s family, friends, girlfriends and whatever else is floating around. I think there’s always a little more pressure they put on themselves, and you could see that with our top players in the back nine.”
Steamboat’s best finishers at the event were senior Jeremy Nolting and junior Michael DiNapoli who each shot a 79 to tie for fifth place. Seniors Colin Kagan and Charlie Thompson were not far behind with an 84 and 89 respectively on the day.
Taking an even round to the turn, Nolting struggled on the back nine and just wanted to cap off his round on a positive note.
“On 18 I just wanted myself to end with a good hole,” Nolting said. “I wanted to shoot in the 70’s so I was hoping for an eagle, but birdie would be good too. I settled in, slowed my tempo down on practice swings and took a few deep breaths and I hit my best drive of the day.”
Nolting went on to birdie 18 to bring his score down into the 70’s.
DiNapoli, the other top Steamboat finisher, said he was driving well all day and hit 75% of the greens in regulation, but his putting is what let him down the most. He found a certain calmness at the tee box on Tuesday and attributes it to playing at a familiar course.
“Playing at home is definitely more comfortable,” DiNapoli said. “You get to sleep in more, you know the range, the practice facility and everything, so that’s nice. The only thing that was not comfortable today was they made the greens super fast.”
There was a consensus among the players and coaches that the greens were extremely difficult between speeds and pin placements. Donner is hopeful this will keep the boys on their toes and more prepared for the last few rounds of the season.
The team will travel to Keystone on Thursday, Sept. 15, for the final regular season round of the year. Nolting, DiNapoli, Kagan and Thompson will all head to Eagle Ranch to compete in regionals on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Donner is confident the boys will get back on track and believes the stress from the home tournament is a good appetizer for the regional tournament.
“It never really concerns me all that much when they don’t play well because sometimes it’s good when you don’t play well,” Donner said. “You’re more likely to work on things that you thought you were doing well.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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