New comer wins YVGC’s Championship
For once, playing it safe worked for golfer Robert Atkinson at the 2002 Club Championship Saturday and Sunday at the Yampa Valley Golf Course.
In a four-man, sudden-death playoff Atkinso, choose to lay up with a five-wood that landed comfortably on the fairway. His strategy paid off and the import from Australia won his first club trophy.
“I was too familiar with the trees to the right of the hole after going for the green earlier in the weekend,” said Atkinson, an operations manager at the Colowyo Coal Company who moved to the area last winter. “For the playoff I just wanted to get on the green in two so I chose the five and was just thinking to get on the green in two.”
The magic number for the playoff was 151. The other three players to qualify were C.J. Rugh with a 75-76, Nick Bomba, who shot a 77-74, and defending champion Steve Swander, who had the same scores as Bomba.
The playoff started on the par four, right dog-legged hole ten. Bomba and Swander were confident after their weekend best 74s and went for the aggressive shot right at the green. Both landed short and right of the green among the trees that had Atkinson tmentioned. Rugh followed Atkinson’s example and hit a drive to the fairway.
Atkinson set himself up for the win with his second shot. His pitch landed within 20 feet of the hole. The other players were less successful on their second shots with Rugh shooting past the hole to the back of the green, Swander was to the left and back, and Bomba’s pitch was stopped short by a tree.
After watching each of the players miss on their third shots, Atkinson hit it within two feet of the hole to put the pressure on the remaining three to sink their much harder fourth shots.
After none succeeded, the Yampa Valley newcomer tapped in the two-footer for the win.
“I’m absolutely delighted about the win,” he said on the walk back from the tenth. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I was going to win.”
The winner from Down Under had nothing but nice things to say about his new home and new home golf course.
“This is a brilliant golf course that is a wonderful asset to the community,” he said. “We moved here from the desert so Craig is like a beautiful big city for us.”
Overall 72 men and 15 women participated in the tournament, which is down from past events, but course pro Tom Dockstader said the overall quality was strong.
“If I were to have guessed the top players to have a chance to win in the tournament, those four would have been the ones.,” he said.
Scores from the tournament will be in Tuesday’s Craig Daily Press.
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