In a season where Belgrade’s golf team has largely struggled, players stepped up the challenge at the Eastern AA Divisional.
Five of the 10 golfers qualified for next week’s state tournament. Three boys and two girls earned the right represent the Panthers in Billings Friday.
“That’s a surprise. It was unexpected,” assistant coach Joe Rossman said of the number. “It’s a great surprise.”
Anthony Madison led the way for Belgrade, placing 12th. The junior had rounds of 78 and 81 en route to carding a 159 and earning all-conference honors.
The top four teams and top 10 individuals (who did not qualify with a team) advanced to the season finale. Thus, Madison will be joined at state by teammates Jaxson Hinshaw (85-86—171) and Brodie Falk (83-90—173).
Rossman noted that Falk had struggled to break 90 throughout the season, but posted his two best rounds. The first round was held at Yegen Golf Course on Thursday, while round two was held at Lake Hills Golf Course Friday.
Belgrade placed sixth among eight teams with a 682. Gallatin won the tournament with a 590, while Billings Senior (620) and Billings West (666) rounded out the top three.
“We were right there in fourth with like three or four holes to go and we had one really bad hole. Had a bad hole that put us from fourth back to sixth,” said Rossman. “But they were right there all the time, and we hadn’t been there all year long. They played their rear ends off.”
Billings Skyview finished one stroke better than the Panthers with a 681, while Bozeman was seventh with a 683.
“Bozeman beat us by 59 strokes last Thursday and we ended up beating them over two days,” noted Rossman. “So that tells you how much they stepped up their game.”
Belgrade was rounded out by Jacob Maroney and Justin Garcia, who posted scores of 179 (86-91) and 205 (93-112), respectively.
Leila Mamangun and Jordan Whitaker qualified for state after each carded a 208. Mamangun had rounds of 105 and 103, while Whitaker posted scores of 103 and 105.
“Those two girls, they were really close, and at the end they had to make some scores the last two holes to make it (to state),” said Rossman.
Riley McMahon (106-112—217), Brynn Butler (113-122—235), and Alyssa Lineback (128-119—247) rounded out the Panthers, who placed seventh with an 865.
“The three girls that didn’t qualify, two of them had their best rounds of the year at divisionals. That’s a great sign and they were excited,” said Rossman. “The kids that didn’t make it were upset. It was nice to see that not qualifying bothered them. It’s really a nice sign to see that they were really just trying as hard as they could to make it out.”
Bozeman, led by a 149 from Sami Yates and 153 from Cooper Knarr, won the tournament with a 590.