Bomba a constant in winner’s circle |

Bomba a constant in winner’s circle

John Vandelinder

— He says his first love is basketball, but golf is what he’s best at.

He’s never had a real lesson.

He only picked up the game as a freshman in high school because he didn’t want to play football and wear out his legs for hoops season.

But when you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

And Nick Bomba’s got it.

At least when he’s got a golf club in his hand.

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Bomba claimed his third Craig City Championship Sunday on the links of Yampa Valley Golf Course, a feat he accomplished by 11 strokes.

Sure, he still is involved with basketball – he’s assistant coach for the Moffat County High School varsity hoopsters – but his playing days are done.

He’s traded in a five-man team game for the independence found on the links.

Where it started

“I used to get crap from the guys at school for playing golf,” Bomba said. “But, I wanted to stay fresh for basketball, so I skipped football. Basketball was, and always will be, my first love. But there’s something about golf that I really enjoy. Being out on the course, being able to control the outcome, and knowing it’s just up to me.”

Bomba played all four years at MCHS, qualifying for the state championships his junior and senior years. But, he still thought his future was with the round orange leather ball – not the small white dimpled one.

Upon graduation, Bomba attended Northwest College in Orange City, Iowa.

He was attending the school to walk on the basketball team.

But once again, that golf thing popped up.

“I talked to the golf coach one day,” Bomba said, “and he offered me a golf scholarship. Just like that. No practice, and he hadn’t even seen me play.”

He made the basketball team, too, but his ride was because of how he struck the ball, not how he shot it.

He transferred to Western State College in Gunnison after his freshman year.

But WSU didn’t have a golf team, so Bomba shot hoops and ran some track, for good measure.

He graduated with a business degree and moved to Denver to manage a store.

But, once again, golf was calling him.

“I was sick of the big city,” he said, “and I really wanted to golf.”

Coming back to Craig

When he returned, his game hadn’t skipped a beat.

He claimed his first city championship that year and anchored the Craig team to a victory in the Yampa Cup – an annual match between Craig and Steamboat Springs for Yampa Valley bragging rights.

Now 28, his younger days as a “golf rat” at Yampa Valley Golf Course have paid off.

He’s won all but one of the tournaments he’s played in this year.

But in the one he didn’t win, the Cottonwood Classic, he placed third – his highest finish in that tournament, which features players from the western United States.

He said it’s “cool” to be considered the best golfer in Craig, but he wants to eventually get the chance to test his mettle outside the city.

“I might be the best in Craig,” he said, “but there are five or 10 of me in every other town.”

His favorite part of the game is “ripping drives.”

“There is no better feeling than playing with someone who hits a good tee shot and is all proud of what they’ve done,” he said. “Then, I get up there and rip one 30 yards past him. I love it.”

What’s next

Bomba said he wants to take his game to the next level.

“I want to enter some bigger events in the Denver area,” he said. “I’ll get to see how I match up with the bigger boys in the state. But, there are some parts to my game that I still need to work on.”

Don’t tell that to his opposition in Craig.

He’s won just about every event this year – by double digits no less – and he said he still needs to improve?

“You can always get better,” he said.

The rest of the town better watch out, Bomba’s still learning the game.

The game he’s the king of Craig in.