SHERIDAN — Entering the season, the main goal for the Big Horn High School golf teams was to improve each day and learn how to manage the course properly.
As a team, Big Horn has dropped strokes each tournament, with the most recent one held in Lusk, which resulted in career lows for two of the Rams. Big Horn returns to Lusk to compete this week in the state tournament held at the Niobrara Country Club. The Rams look to battle for a state title while the Lady Rams will field to girls playing as individuals, ending one girl short to field a team this season.
The main competition for the Rams and other 2A boys teams will be Hot Springs County High School from Thermopolis, who has a player that consistently shoots at par or lower.
Big Horn head coach Lamont Clabaugh said this allows Thermopolis some wiggle room for the bottom two players. The third or fourth man can shoot in the 100s and Thermopolis can still win.
If the Rams want to capture the title, all four scores that go toward team points need to be below 100 with a few in the 80s at least.
Big Horn’s Dalton Nelson said this is a task the Rams can accomplish. If each player can drop a few strokes from their scores, then the Rams have a chance to overcome Thermopolis.
To drop scores, the Rams will need to play consistent and have excellent course management, Clabaugh said. Big Horn will need to place shots in the correct positions, set up the next shot and avoiding any errors.
The course presents some challenges, with three holes having out of bounds on the right-hand side of the hole, a place where sliced shots can easily land, costing the player strokes. A river running through the course forces golfers to hit over it on six different holes.
This is where course management comes into play, making sure the Rams do not add any unnecessary stokes to the score. Big Horn was seven strokes behind Thermopolis in the previous tournament, leaving a razor-thin edge for both teams. A few shots out of bounds or in the water can cost the team a championship.
The Rams are familiar with this course, as the team plays in Lusk every fall and spring. This familiarity helps the team know what areas to avoid and where they need to aim to set up the next shot. The course is nine holes, meaning each hole will be played twice. This will help add to the familiarity of the course.
Big Horn will practice Monday through Wednesday at The Powder Horn Golf Club before playing a practice round on Thursday in Lusk. Teams will compete for a title Sept. 20-21.