Steamboat Springs High School golfers prepare for Regional with hopes of extending season
Steamboat Springs — Four members of the Steamboat Springs High School golf team who will be headed to Monday’s Regional Tournament in Fruita could be found Tuesday on the practice green at the Haymaker Golf Course preparing for their first big shot.
Not one of the four players, including the two seniors on the team, have ever played in a regional tournament, but they’re not letting their lack of experience stop them from preparing for the chance or thinking they can’t earn an invitation to the state tournament at the end of the month.
“It’s rewarding,” senior Nolan Sankey said. “I’ve definitely been working toward this all four years of high school, and it’s really great to have this opportunity now.”
Sankey will be joined at the regional tournament by fellow senior Jacob Taulman, sophomore Jack Rotermund and freshman Tommy Henninger.
Head coach Andrew Donner said inexperience at this level could be an advantage for his players when they step onto the Adobe Creek Golf Course in Fruita. He is hoping they will be able to focus on their game instead of the pressure and attention that comes along with a tournament of this size.
According to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s golf bulletin there are 84 state qualifiers for 3A, 4A and 5A. Each regional tournament will have two full teams and 13 individuals not on a team.
“I’m looking forward to the experience,” Taulman said. “I’ve been working hard all summer and all season, and my scores have been going down all season. I just want to keep the momentum going headed into the regional.”
The team will leave for that event on Friday with plans to play practice rounds at the course Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, the players will step up to the tee box at 9 a.m. with just six hours and 18 holes between them and the state tournament.
Donner said none of his players have seen the course, but he feels like the two practice rounds should be enough for his players to get a feel for the layout of the course. He is aware that nerves may play a role, but that’s why the team spent so much time this week working on the short game.
“We talked a lot yesterday about our brains, and thinking and scoring — not so much about hitting the ball,” Donner said. “The kids can all hit golf balls … you are either going to hit it good or average or poorly. But what you need to have is a really good short game. That way if you have a bad shot you can make it up when you get close to hole.”
The truth is Donner isn’t sure exactly what to expect from his players at the regional tournament.
“There is always going to be nerves on the first tee,” Sankey said. “I mean this is the biggest tournament of the year, so there is pressure on us, but I think we know how to handle it, and I think we will perform our best.”
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