The largest men’s golf tournament of the season is almost here, and Yampa Valley Golf Course is ready.
The 46th annual Cottonwood Classic tees off the first of its 54 holes Friday in Craig, with 111 golfers looking to dethrone three-time defending champion Keith Humerickhouse, of Eagle.
Beating Humerickhouse, a +2 handicap golfer who won the tournament by 17 strokes last year and shot under par in all three rounds, won’t be easy. But playing conditions should be good for all involved from Friday through Sunday.
Aside from a slight chance of storms Friday, the weather is projected to be sunny and warm throughout the weekend. Additionally, the course is in good condition, according to superintendent Tim Boyle.
“It’s in pretty good shape,” Boyle said. “We’re getting there, trimming everything. The greens are speeding up, and it’ll be in good shape for the tournament for sure. This wind we’ve been getting every afternoon has been putting branches down on the course; that’s been the toughest thing, really.”
In his first summer at the course, head pro Bob Mueller is excited to see how the popular tournament works and look at possibilities for next year.
“I’m looking forward to seeing this tournament,” Mueller said. “I’m going to do what I always try to do, which is listen to everything that’s going on, then I want to make it bigger and better next year.”
The Cottonwood is a 54-hole tournament played throughout three days in which handicaps don’t factor into the golfers’ final score. Those who shoot the best in seven flights will win award money for their efforts, and there will be money up for grabs in a closest-to-the-pin contest for each par-3 hole in all three rounds.
“This is obviously a big showcase for the golf course,” Mueller said. “We’re excited to have the players in from out of town, and we want to make it a fun weekend.”
Contact Nate Waggenspack at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports.