Steamboat golf team narrowly misses regional title, will send 3 to state
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs’ Erik Sobeck has played in 10 tournaments this season leading up to the regional, but the senior understands that Tuesday’s tournament at Gypsum Creek was different.
“There is more pressure at the regional tournament than all the others,” Sobeck said. “The regional tournament defines the season.”
On Tuesday, Sobeck and teammates Britt Walton, Brandon Martin and Andrew Firestone fell just short of bringing home a regional title, but they still managed to define the season as a success. Three of the golfers will be rewarded with a shot at state.
Walton led a strong showing with a 75, Sobeck was one stroke back at 76, and despite a slow start, Martin held on with a 79 to give the Sailors a final score of 230, good enough for second place. Steamboat’s Andrew Firestone also had a respectable finish with a score of 82.
Durango won the tournament with a team score of 228 and won the opportunity to represent the region as a team at the state championships.
Only the top team from the region earns an automatic berth including all four golfers to the state tournament. However, players can qualify as individuals based on top individual finishes. Steamboat’s Walton, Sobeck and Martin all made the cut as individuals and will compete at the state tournament.
“I was really pleased with our team’s effort (Tuesday). All of our scores were really good,” coach Steve Dodson said. “We will be going to state, but we will be without the luxury of a fourth golfer.”
At state, the best three individual scores are combined for the team score. A full team can throw out its worst score for the final result, but Steamboat will not be able to do that.
“I know our guys are going back and trying to figure out where they left strokes on the course,” Dodson said. “But I just told them that this is the game of golf, and sometimes that’s just how it plays out.”
Walton’s string of top finishes continued Tuesday afternoon as he finished in third place with a 75, just three strokes behind tournament winner Jakob Rudosky, of Montezuma Cortez.
“I felt like I played pretty well today,” Walton said. “I set myself up off the tee and didn’t get too aggressive.”
Sobeck finished tied for fourth with Durango’s Cory Gillespie, and Brandon Martin was ninth.
“I was seven over after seven,” Martin said. “I didn’t think I had a chance to make the cut. But then I started to think about it, and I decided there was no reason I couldn’t be even the rest of the way.”
Martin did play even for the final 11 holes to finish at 79 and make the state qualifying cut for the first time in his high school career.
The three Steamboat Springs golfers now will start preparing for the state tournament, which will be held Sept. 30 to Oct. 1 at the Hiwan Golf Club in Evergreen.
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