Cottonwood Classic golf tourney kicks off today


At a glance

What: Cottonwood Classic golf tournament

When: 7 a.m. today, Saturday and Sunday

Where: Yampa Valley Golf Course, 2179 Highway 394

• For more information, call 824-3673

At a glance

• The 41st Annual Cottonwood Classic begins at 7 a.m. today, with the final round of the three-day event finishing Sunday.

• The event is broken in to eight flights, according to handicap.

• The top eight finishers in each flight earn money, from $650 for first place to $75 for eighth.

• After the second round Saturday, participants will be treated to a barbecue dinner.

• Fans can catch the action from the deck at the YVGC clubhouse, which overlooks holes 1, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 18.

— Tom LeFebre stood at the back of the Yampa Valley Golf Course parking lot, waving his hands frantically.

His friend and fellow Grand Junction resident Mike Petersen edged his pickup backward as the duo cautiously parked Peterson's fifth-wheel trailer.

The pair was getting settled Thursday in anticipation of the event they are about to undergo.

Petersen and LeFebre are in town for the 41st Annual Cottonwood Classic golf tournament, which begins today at 7 a.m.

"I've been in this tournament for at least 15 years," Petersen said. "I started playing in it before the blue tee boxes were even here.

"We camp here every year. It's a good getaway for us, and it's always a really good time.

Petersen and LeFebre are two of the 201 participants signed up to play in the three-day event, many of whom are from out of town.

"People come from all over the place," said Ann Marie Roberts, Yampa Valley Ladies Professional Golf Association club professional. "For four days of golf on a course that is in really good shape, it's really the best deal in the state."

Roberts said the Cottonwood is by far YVGC's biggest event. Each year, participants take less than two weeks to fill the 200 or so spots, making the tournament not only a statewide event, but also a nationally recognized tournament.

Terry Larson, from Corvallis, Ore., was slipping off his golf shoes and putting his clubs in his car after Thursday's practice round.

"This is kind of like a vacation/competition for me," he said. "I live at sea level, so having my ball fly as far as it does in Colorado is something I have to get used to."

Larson added he's not too concerned about how he finishes; he's just after a good time on the links.

"This is my third year (in the tourney)," he said. "I've never placed before. There are a lot of good golfers that play in this.

"If I do (win), then I do."

Many of the golfers present at the course during Thursday's practice round said strategy will come in to play during the event.

For some, it was to have a good time, while others said consistency was the key to a good finish.

Not for Denver resident Patrick Lynch.

"I love this course," he said. "My goals? That's easy. Not to embarrass myself."

Craig resident John Doane is playing in the tournament for his 12th time.

Doane earned first place in flight No. 3 two years ago, so he believes he knows what it takes to come out on top.

"It's a matter of being consistent," he said. "You've got to capitalize when given the opportunity. If you can walk away after three days without pulling your hair out, you'll be OK."

Denver resident Chris Miller said his goals are simple.

"I'm out here to win."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793 or


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