Polson High School’s top golfers Matt Hobbs and Trey Kelley have battled each other for supremacy in the top score for the Pirates golf team all season.
Each week, Polson’s two top players have teeter-tottered with each other for the top score in every single event.
This time, the competitive dynamic that coach Bill Owen encourages his team to have with each other has paid dividends at the most crucial time of the season, as the boys prepare to enter the State Golf Tournament Friday and Saturday at Hamilton.
Hobbs finished second in the divisional tournament, firing a 75, en route to his second-place finish, and Kelley only finished three strokes behind Hobbs’ efforts.
Kelley fired a 78 with a fourth-place finish in the divisionals, and Hobbs and Kelley’s efforts were major components to the Pirates’ third-place finish, with a team score of 340.
Owen said he felt others also elevated their level of play. Colby Devlin finished with a 92, Calvin Nowlen had a 95 and Jeff Devlin fired a 100 at Libby, and the efforts helped catapult Polson into the state tournament Friday and Saturday at the Hamilton Golf Club.
“(Our team score) of 340 was a pretty good score,” Owen said. “In order to beat Stevi and Hamilton (in divisionals) I knew we had to play well to beat them and (at state) on the east side Laurel will be the team to beat because they broke 300 and that is quite a score for any high school team, and they are going to be tough to beat (moving forward).”
Headed into state, the Pirates boys’ team has experienced two 18-hole rounds on the Hamilton course. The experience on the course, plus the additional practice round, will help the boys’ team tremendously headed into divisionals, according to Owen.
“I am confident they are going to have a good tournament,” Owen said. “They’ve been through a lot on the Hamilton Golf Course and practice the next round and start the state tournament and it will have to have the familiarity with that course. They have an 18-hole course and (the experience we have) will be a pretty good advantage on the other side of the state and they are looking to try to get those kids focused on the holes and know they will have to lay off in certain situations rather than making a big shot.”