Walton, Firestone lead SSHS golf to second place at home tourney
SSHS tournament scores
Top five teams
- Grand Junction 222
- Steamboat Springs 231
- Montrose 232
- Eagle Valley 241
- Rifle 242
Top 10 individuals
- Glen-Michael Mihavetz, Montrose 69
- Canon Olkowski, GJ 69
- Trevor Olkowski, GJ 70
- Britt Walton, SSHS 71
- Barrett Jones, Eagle Valley 75
- Will Firestone, SSHS 76
- Wyatt Carter, Rifle 77
- Mike Bingham, Moffat 78
- Holden Kleager, Basalt 78
- Jacob Smith, Rifle 79
Steamboat Springs — There is an ideology when playing on your home golf course that says you should be able to dominate any challengers.
However, this same ideology can raise self-expectations to disastrous levels, and Steamboat Springs High School golf coach Andrew Donner saw his team flirt with that line at times Thursday in its lone regular-season home meet at Haymaker Golf Course.
“I always think it’s harder to win on your home course,” said Donner, who is in his first year leading the Sailors. “It’s always interesting when it’s a home golf course, because I noticed the tension out there. I could see some stress early on.”
Despite a few hiccups, the Sailors held strong to finish second as a team Thursday, shooting a three-player score of 231, nine shots back of first-place Grand Junction, a 5A school. Montrose finished third with 232, Eagle Valley fourth with 241 and Rifle fifth with 242.
“Overall, I’m happy. We won for the 4A side. We lost to a 5A school,” Donner said. “We won the 4A side, and that’s really the most important thing. Some good numbers out of Britt and Will.”
Senior Britt Walton led SSHS with 71 to finish in fourth place. Walton, who finished sixth last year at state, has been a consistent force for the Sailors all season, with Donner believing he is capable of doing much more.
“I started off kind of bad with bogeys and then made a few ups and downs later and then brought it back,” Walton said. “I thought I did pretty well over all.”
Fellow senior Will Firestone was second for the Sailors, shooting 76 to finish sixth overall. Despite a strong 1-under par on the front nine, Firestone spent most of the day in a mental battle with himself that likely cost him a top five finish.
“I was very frustrated. I started off pretty good, then I just left a couple shots out there on the back,” Firestone said. “It’s always a learning experience when you play bad. There are always positives to take from the round. Go out next time hoping to do a little better.”
Noah Bass was third for the Sailors with 84, with Jacob Taulman’s 86 and Nolan Sankey’s 87 rounding out the scores. Steamboat’s usual No. 3 golfer, Jack Starkey, did not compete.
Winning the tournament was Montrose’s Glen-Michael Mihavetz, who shot 69. He tied with Grand Junction’s Canon Olkowski but edged him in a one-hole playoff. Canon’s brother, Grand Junction’s Trevor Olkowski, took third with a 70.
“There are still some things we need to work on and fix a little bit. I think our mental game needs a little bit of work,” Donner said. “The biggest thing is we are winning a lot of our 4A events, and that bodes well going into regionals.”
Thursday’s tournament was an important tune-up for Sept. 22, when the Sailors will host their Class 4A regional at Haymaker. Donner said he is still looking for that fourth golfer behind Walton, Firestone and Starkey, but the options are there, and he feels confident about Steamboat’s chances come postseason.
“We have a team that can win the region. We haven’t won it in a while. Being at home, that’s going to be a big advantage,” Donner said. “There’s no reason we can’t get three scores in the 70s come regionals, and that’s probably what it’s going to take to win it.”
The Sailors will travel to Craig Friday to play a match with Moffat County.
To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert
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