Steamboat golf stays on-par with tough competition on home course
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The home-course advantage is not a thing in golf. In fact, it’s almost more difficult.
“They always say it’s the hardest thing to do because expectations are so high since you play that course all the time,” Steamboat Springs High School head golf coach Andrew Donner said. “Then you get out on the golf course, put a little extra pressure on yourself, and you struggle a little bit.”
But the Sailors varsity golf team didn’t struggle. In fact, Steamboat gave a hard-fought performance against some of the state’s best teams, like Montrose and Aspen.
The Sailors took third place overall with a team score of 220. Freshman Ollie Rotermund led the charge carding a 73, and junior Tommy Henninger matched that. Senior Jack Rotermund added a 74-stroke effort, and Beck Kuhlman shot a 79.
Montrose placed second overall with a 218, and Aspen finished first with 213.
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“I was really happy with Tommy,” Donner said. “He always kind of floats a little bit up and down. He didn’t hit the ball that great but putted really well.
“It was good to see Jack get his number down. He’s been fighting himself a little upstairs,” Donner added. “And Ollie did what he did. He always shoots 71, 72, 73.”
Donner said it also was nice to see Kuhlman as one of the top contenders after coming off an injury.
But for Jack, the performance still wasn’t up to par — to be precise, it was two strokes off.
“I felt like I played pretty well, I just couldn’t get my putts to go in,” Jack said. “I was struggling with my swing for a little bit, so I lost my confidence for a couple tournaments. That kind of hurt me, but I’m glad to have that back, and I’m starting to play better again.”
Younger brother Ollie stayed consistent but wanted more out of a day that seemed to be going his way on the green.
“I felt like I putted the best I have all season,” Ollie said. “But my iron game wasn’t really as strong as it usually is.”
The siblings are coming off a six-month stint in Florida, where they played against some of the country’s finest high school competition at PGA National.
“Jack and I learned a new type of golf,” Ollie said. “We’ve just been playing mountain golf our entire life, so we just kind of got to see what it’s like to play down in the Southeast.”
Lots of tournament golf helped the Rotermunds not only gain exposure from colleges but also gain perspective. The kids they played against get to play golf year-round, and the terrain is completely different.
“I think I became a much better putter down there,” Jack said. “In Florida, it’s all Burmuda grass, so putts can get away from you a lot quicker than up here. You have to worry about certain things like rain and stuff you don’t have to worry about in the mountains.”
It’s that kind of competition experience that the brothers believe is helping them compete with teams like Aspen or Montrose.
But the Steamboat team has traveled to many competitive tournaments in the Grand Junction-Montrose area this year, and that experience showed on their home course.
“Golf is a game sometimes you play really well and you get outplayed,” Donner said. “You just want your kids to play well, and we did that today.”
But when Regionals come, the Sailors hope to be prepared for the mental game that comes with heightened competition.
“Everyone gets a little psyched out,” Jack said. “But if we just stick to the game plan and grinding out pars and bogeys, we’ll be fine.”
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