Editor’s Note: In last week’s golf preview there was a qoute that was inaccuratley attributed to Polson High School golf Coach Bill Owen. The qoute that was published in the paper was part of a standard InDesign template used during production. The original quote on the standard template was not changed and inaccurately attributed to Coach Owen. The Lake County Leader regrets the error.
The Polson Pirate boys golf team finished in second place for the second straight season, firing a cumulative score of 663 during the state tournament Friday through Saturday at the Sidney Country Club in Sidney.
All season the Pirates were catapulted by the performance of their No. 1 golfer Carson McDaniel. McDaniel has chased Libby’s top-caliber golfer Ryggs Johnston all season and just couldn’t catch up to the elite golfer who verbally committed to Arizona State University, a prestigious golf team that is the alma mater of PGA golfer Phil Mickelson.
Johnston captured the first place trophy by playing consistent and fired a 66 and a 68 to give him a cumulative total 134. Billings Central golfer Liam Clancy cut eight strokes off his first day score to finish second with a 146.
Determined to hang with Johnston and Clancy, McDaniel remained steady and shot a stellar 75 on the first day and a 77 on the second day to give him a cumulative total of 152.
“Our team had pretty good days, the wind was a little bit of a factor and that is something that you are always going to get in Sidney,” Pirates coach Bill Owen said. “Parts of the course were higher up and tucked away from the wind, but the wind was a factor in other parts of the course.”
Owen praised McDaniel for his four-year contribution to the team and his maturity he displayed during his senior season. McDaniel is one of the few golfers that has received all-state honors four consecutive years in a row.
“Carson was a great leader for us and bonded well with our kids,” Owen said. “He just put a lot of effort into leading by example and I was really pleased that Carson stepped up and became a leader for us. I watched him grow in his confidence. He’s not a showboat and is a quiet, unassuming leader who is confident in himself. I would say he steadily progressed into a leadership role.”
The Pirates’ No. 2 golfer Matt Hobbs, who challenged McDaniel at his No. 1 spot all season, medalled and finished in eighth place shooting a 161. Hobbs was steady firing a 79 on his first day on the course and shot an 82 on the second day.
Hobb’s consistent performance throughout the season earned him a spot on the state’s top flight.
“Being in the top flight was a real honor and those two that were in the first group were competing against each other in the same flight,” Owen said.
Like McDaniel, Owen said Hobbs also grew as a golfer and leader during the season and sees Hobbs being a leader on next year’s team.
“On the positive side, I see Matt growing into the leadership role where Carson was this year and he is another quiet leader that leads by example,” Owen said.
Owen prepared his team for various weather conditions, especially when traveling to eastern Montana. The one-way distance between Polson and Sidney is a 648-mile trip.
“We had some pretty nasty weather in Sidney and I talked to Matt about that and told him that you have to be ready for anything,” Owen said. “Matt really took it to heart. I’v seen him even on our course on really nasty days and I am excited about what Matt will be able to do for us next year.” Another golfer that was more in a supporting cast, but was crucial to the success of the Pirates team this season was Trey Kelley.
Owen said he felt Kelley will compete with Hobbs next year similar to how Hobbs and McDaniel played against each other this season.
Kelley earned all-state medal honors, and was consistent shooting an 83 on both days for a cumulative of score of 166.
“I think he will elevate his level of play between this season and next season,” Owen said. “He’s playing good now and still hasn’t peaked as a golfer.”
Hogan Kelley was able to cut eight strokes off of his game after shooting a 96 on the first day. Kelley shot an 88 on the second day, which was critical to the Pirates’ position of capturing second place.
“Hogan was the other golfer that really made second place happen for us,” Owen said. “He cut his strokes down in the 80s and really delivered the second day. His 88 was really instrumental in putting us in the second place picture.”
Qualifying for the state level of golf takes lots of practice and it doesn’t start at the beginning of the school year. It’s done in the summer.
“You have to put in a lot of hard work on your game throughout the year,” Owen said. “Golf doesn’t start in the fall. You have to put in a lot of hard work on your game to get to that level let alone be like Carson, who was a state-placer four years in a row, which is impressive.”
Owen said he will have four experienced players scheduled to return for the 2018 season.
“I will have four experienced golfers coming back,” Owen said. “Colby Devlin and Calvin Nowlen scraped it out to be the ones to go to state. It was a pretty good contest between the two of them and Calvin is going to be ready because he works really hard at his game and was there for the team even though he couldn’t participate at state.”
Lady Pirates build towards the future
The Polson Lady Pirates finished fifth in the Class A golf tournament at the Sidney Golf Club, but they still turned in solid performances indicative of the team’s potential headed into 2018.
The Polson Lady Pirates shot a total of 866 en route to their fifth place finish in Class A.
One of Polson’s top golfers, Cali Cannon, fell six strokes short of being a state medalist. Cannon shot a 104 and 102 for both days, firing a total of 206.
“They had a pretty good day on both days and they did a pretty well even though they are capable of shooting better numbers,” Owen said. “The thing I liked about how the girls shot at state is that everyone brought their scores down from the second day. I know they were disappointed in themselves but they hung in there and battled for fifth place, which was pretty good considering we didn’t have a team last year.”
Another Lady Pirate that really showcased a lot of promise was freshman Berkley Ellis. Ellis finished second on the team, firing a total of 217.
“Shooting 217 is a pretty good score for a freshman,” Owen said. “On the second day of golf, Berkley was hanging with the medalist. Ellis was pretty impressive and has a heck of a work ethic.”
Other Lady Pirate golfers contributing to the third place finish included Esme’ Yarbrough, who shot a 110-109 for a cumulative total of 219. Amanda Farley finished the season shooting a 224.
Owen said he was “pleased” with both the performance of the girls and boys teams at the conclusion of the season.
“The season goes fast and we are already at the end,” Owen said. “My kids were pretty sentimental about their season and, like me, don’t want to see the season end but it has to. We have to go out there and play as long as we can for the remaining of the fall and get started playing golf in the summer.”
The following is an abridged version of the Class A state golf results:
State A Golf
Sidney GC, Sidney, MT
Friday thru Saturday
September 29-30, 2017
Team scores: 1, Laurel 654; 2, Polson 663; 3, Billings Central 666; 4, Hamilton 670; 5, Whitefish 717; 6, Livingston 722; 7, Stevensville 727; 8, Frenchtown 479; 9, Belgrade 798; 10, Lewistown 799.
Top 15 individuals
1, Ryggs Johnston, Libby, 68-66-134; 2, Liam Clancy, Blgs C, 77-69-146; 3, Carson McDaniel, Pol, 75-77-152; 4, Tristan Belue, Hardin, 80-76-156; 5, Carson Hackman, Lau, 80-77-157; 6, Winston Oppelt, Liv, 82-77-159; 7, Tristan Hanson, Ham, 160; t8, Matt Hobbs, Pol, 79-82-161; t8, Derek Wolff, Frtwn, 84-77-161; t10, Paul O’Neil, Lau, 80-84-164; t10, Zach Taylor, Ham, 85-79-164; t10, Cash Golden, Lau, 85-79-164; t10, Chase Morehouse, Sid, 88-76-164; 14, Bryce Reed, Ham, 86-79-165; t15, Nick Pasquarello, Blgs C, 81-85-166; t15, Trey Kelley, Pol, 83-83-166.
POLSON – Carson McDaniel (75-77) 152, Matt Hobbs (79-82) 161, Trey Kelley (83-83) 166, Hogan Kelley (96-88) 184, Colby Devlin (106-97) 203.
RONAN – Anthony Camel (102-95) 197.
1, Sidney 722; 2, Lewistown 773; 3, Whitefish 815; 4, Miles City 860; 5, Polson 866; 6, Havre 877; 7, Libby 913; 8, Browning 978.
Top 15 individuals
1, Tierney Messmer, Sid, 80-77-157; 2, Kaelyn Volk, Sid, 82-76-158; 3, Kinsey Irvin, Lew, 82-79-161; 4, Tricia Joyce, Butte C, 87-80-167; 5, Courtney Ockler, Frenchtown, 89-87-176; 6, Brooklyn Olson, Ronan, 99-89-188; 7, Perry Widdicombe, Billings Central, 98-92-190; 8, Lindsey Huber, Dillon, 101-90-191; 9, Teagan Fee, Havre, 91-101-192; 10, Megan Archibald, Wfsh, 101-93-194; 11, Ella Shaw, Wfsh, 99-97-196; 12, Abby Gremaux, Lew, 100-97-197; t13, Gracie Young, Wfsh, 94-106-200; t13, Val Kolstad, Lew, 101-99-200; t13, Torey Dahl, Sid, 104-96-200.
POLSON – Cali Cannon (104-102) 206, Berkley Ellis (116-101) 217, Esme’ Yarbrough (110-109) 219, Amanda Farley (112-112) 224.
RONAN – Brooklyn Olson (99-89)188, Madyson Running Crane (114-117) 231.