Craig The golf scene in Craig now is in its busiest season, with the conclusion of one successful tournament not spelling a break, but leading into the beginning of the next.
Last weekend, The Memorial Hospital Foundation hosted its annual golf tournament at Yampa Valley Golf Course, to the tune of 108 players making up 27 scramble teams at the fundraising event. While the TMH tournament always is a fun and competitive tournament, this year’s event had an especially exciting finish.
The team of Tammy Rice, Katie Rice, Amy Peck and Parker King took first place with a score of 61, beating out new hospital CEO Chris Smolik, Dave Higgins, Kevin Peck and Amber Nicholson in a playoff. Shane Camilletti, Todd Trapp, Willie Barclay and Jason Back placed third, shooting 62.
While the turnout for the tournament in 2013 was slightly lower than last year (27 teams vs. 30), it still was in the area hospital foundation members were looking for.
“This year worked out a bit better because there were carts for everyone,” said Eva Peroulis, of the TMH Foundation. “It was a great turnout. There were a lot of teams and a lot of sponsors, and our chipping contest drove a lot of interest.”
In addition to the four-person scramble format of the tournament, there was a chipping contest in the practice area where contestants took a shot at landing their ball in a small, inflatable pool. Those that hit the shot then participated in a chip-off to win a mini-iPad.
Proceeds from the tournament this year are going towards a new ambulance for the hospital, so with high participation, the fundraiser was a success.
It also was a smooth and fun day of golf even with a packed course, said David Hardison, head golf pro at YVGC.
“We got a lot of pats on the back about that one,” Hardison said. “We’re getting better with this tournaments, and that went great.”
Another busy weekend
That experience with a large tournament will do Hardison and his staff well for the coming weekend, when they host the largest summer tournament of the year in Craig.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the course will host the 46th annual Cottonwood Classic, a 54-hole individual tournament that is a popular option for locals, but attracts a large number of golfers from elsewhere on the Western Slope.
As of Tuesday morning, the tournament had 119 players signed up, compared to 127 from last year. The signup deadline was Tuesday night and Hardison said he expected to have a similar final count.
While YVGC hosts more than a dozen tournaments during the summer, the Cottonwood stands out for its three-day stroke play. Other tournaments, especially early in the summer, are played by teams or in different formats, but with the Cottonwood each player is on his own, the same as the style of golf that can be seen on TV on the weekends.
“There are no gimmes, no mulligans, it’s real golf,” Hardison said. “This is the probably the premiere tournament to highlight the course and the facility.”
The Cottonwood is well-known among local golfers, but also attracts strong players from further south on the Western Slope. Keith Humerickhouse, the two-time defending champion from Eagle, will be back again after shooting three under par for the weekend in 2012. Players like Humerickhouse highlight how good the amateur golfing scene can be, Hardison said.
“Some of these guys’ handicap is a positive handicap,” he said. “So they’re shooting under par on average, which is pretty impressive. This is an all-amateur tournament, but they’re still very competitive.”
Pairings for the Cottonwood are expected Wednesday or Thursday, and the first golfers tee off at 7:30 a.m. Friday.
Nate Waggenspack can be reached at 970-875-1795 or email@example.com