Two Steamboat golfers advance to state tournament following eight-man playoff
Tied with seven others through 18 holes at the regional tournament, Steamboat Springs senior Jeremy Nolting headed to the 18th tee box of Eagle Ranch Golf Course for a playoff hole with a trip to the state tournament on the line.
The regional tournament, which ran on Tuesday, Sept. 20, grants just two full teams and the top 13 individuals outside of those teams an opportunity to compete at state. Nolting shot a 78 to force a tiebreaker for the final two state tournament openings.
With his ball sitting a few yards off the green, Nolting hit an incredible up-and-down with a beautiful putt to par the hole and secure the final spot for states with Erie junior Hayden Jackson filling in the other slot.
“He hit a great little six or seven foot putt and the chip shot he hit was just fantastic,” said head coach Andrew Donner. “It was a really tough shot and he pulled it off. It was pretty special.”
Alongside Nolting at the state tournament will be junior Michael DiNapoli, who had a slow start but got into a groove for his last 12 holes, shooting a 75 and finishing 11th in the region as an individual.
Donner said the boys had a hard day with their putters and thought it may have affected their games from a mental standpoint.
“Anytime the whole team doesn’t make it, it’s always tough,” Donner said. “We just kind of struggled out there on the greens a little bit. I think there’s a few things on the greens that got to them a little bit, maybe some nerves.”
As a team, the Sailors had a solid start on the first few holes before hitting a rough stretch and never being able to catch back up.
Missing the cut are Steamboat seniors Colin Kagan and Charlie Thompson who shot an 83 and 86, respectively.
This was the toughest regional Donner had ever been a part of, saying the field was stacked and performing at a much higher level than he had ever seen before. He struggles with the idea of a trip to the state tournament hinging on just one round.
“These kids work all season and it comes down to four or five hours of golf,” Donner said. “It’s just unfortunate that you don’t get a secondary opportunity to go compete. We got two guys in and they’ll go out there and they’re gonna give it their best at state.”
The state tournament will run Oct. 3-4 at Pelican Lakes Golf Club in Windsor.
The tournament will consist of two rounds and the top players from all over Colorado. Despite the steep competition, Donner is confident Nolting and DiNapoli have what it takes to compete at a high level.
“It’s kind of like anything, you gotta make putts to get your score down but they both can hit the golf ball, they’re both good ball stickers and they do a good job with battling and hanging in there,” Donner said. “I think there’s no reason they can’t go in there and compete for top 10 spots.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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