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Steamboat golf works to be more than 2nd best

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat junior Tommy Henninger calls second place, “not first place.”

First place wasn’t and isn’t ever a long shot for the junior, who grew up with a putting green in his backyard in Jackson, Wyoming, for the better part of his childhood.

On Aug. 28, Henninger traveled with teammates junior Jack Thompson, sophomore Ryan McNamara, senior Caleb Anderson and senior Ben Dickson to the Rifle Bears Home Invitational in Rifle.

Henninger took second individually, carding a 79. Thompson followed with an 81 and McNamara shot an 84 to give the team a total score of 244 to win the tournament.

Before talking about himself, Henninger credits Thompson with a strong performance as the No. 2 player on the team, shooting a 45 on the front nine and a 36 on the back.

Steamboat golf

Aug. 15: at Eagle Valley
Aug. 16: at Battle Mountain
Aug. 22-23: at Montrose
Aug. 28: at Rifle
Sept. 5: at Moffat County
Sept. 6: Home at Haymaker Golf Course, 8 a.m.
Sept. 13: at Summit

“I definitely was going into the tournament thinking I was going to win,” Henninger said. “After seeing the kid who won, I knew I definitely could’ve beat him. I had 11 pars, seven bogeys — not much you can really make up for on that.”

Assistant coach Tim Dever thought Henninger had a good handle on the competition, but said it was just a few putts that held him back from the top finish.

“I think he’s been playing really strong,” Dever said.

Henninger also carded a 75 to take take fifth individually in the tournament Aug. 23 at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose, against a strong field of the state’s top 5A talent from Durango, Grand Junction, Montrose and Fruita. The Sailors finished in second place as a team there.

The day before, Steamboat sophomore Ollie Rotermund led the team with an even-par performance at 70, which earned him third individually at Black Canyon Golf Course in Montrose and helped the Sailors win first place overall.

“When you get over to the Junction-Montrose area, you play some tougher teams,” head coach Andrew Donner said. “A lot of people playing year-round golf, so I was really pleased with our performance. That’s a really good barometer for us.”

Rotermund was pleased to compete with familiar faces from last year’s state tournament.

“We kind of all played pretty darn well, and it paid off,” Rotermund said. “I personally want to have our team go to state as a team, not really just a couple of us. Because last year it was just my brother and I, and I think it would be a lot of fun just having the team there also.

“I think we just keep on doing what we’re doing — four of us shooting in the 70s,” Rotermund said. “I think we got it.”

Henninger said the competition is what helped his performance at Black Canyon. He played with Montrose’s Micah Stangebye, who shot 66, a performance at five under par, which won the tournament.

“I just tried to keep up with him, and when I play with people like that, it helps me score well.” Henninger said.

Steamboat also sent golfers to the GJ Tiger Invitational at Bookcliff Country Club on Monday, Aug. 27 and the Central Warriors Invitational at Tiara Rado Golf Course in Grand Junction on Tuesday, Aug. 28.

The team placed first overall at Bookcliff behind Rotermund’s first-place individual performance of 71, then the Sailors took second overall at Tiara Rado.

But second, once again, could’ve been first. The Sailors have potential to send a team down to state this year, as long as they can fix the small kinks.

“It’s short game — chipping, putting — that’s our biggest downfall,” Donner said. “We get overtaken a little bit at about 100 yards in. We could’ve won the tournament.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.


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