Class AA golf teams from around the state kicked off the 2020-21 school year at the Great Falls Invitational Monday.
After weeks of not knowing if the fall season would actually happen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, second-year Belgrade coach Mike Deming noted the team was thrilled to be able to compete.
Now, the real work begins.
“We got to see our players compete in a tournament. We were able to break them down and now we just have to go back to the driving range and practice, and continue to break them down part by part,” said Deming. “Then by the end of the year hopefully their whole part comes back together, so it’s going to be a fun challenge.”
Belgrade’s boys placed 12th out of 13 teams with a 355 at Eagle Falls Golf Club, while the girls didn’t field a full team. Gallatin High, the new school in Bozeman that opened this fall, won the boys title with a 298 led by brothers Justus and Jordan Verge. The junior transfers form Bozeman High each carded a 69, but Justus won via a scorecard playoff.
On the girls side, Bozeman finished nine strokes better than Billings Senior to win the tournament with a 346 at Meadow Lark Country Club. Kalispell’s Marcella Mercer won individual honors with a 75.
Deming said the tournament served as an early look at the competition as every AA program except the three Missoula schools competed.
“That’s the goal of that meet is to have almost all of the schools there to start the year, so everybody gets a feel of where they’re at,” he said. “Then we try bring them together one more time before divisionals, so pretty much everybody was there but Missoula.”
Belgrade’s boys were led by Jaxon Hinshaw and Anthony Madison, who carded an 85 and 87, respectively. Jacob Maroney (91), Justin Garcia (92) and Colter Gee (99) rounded out the team.
“It’s a good starting point,” said Deming. “There’s no doubt we have a lot to learn, but it’s just a matter of getting to the range and getting some practice in and fine tuning them.”
For the girls, Jordan Whitaker and Leila Mamangum each carded a 112, while Riley McMahon had a 126.
“I did like what I saw. We got lots of things to learn,” said Deming. “Not only etiquette, but just fine tuning some of the golf swings. Simplifying things a little bit for them. It’s a good starting point.”
While there are many new protocols to follow due to coronavirus concerns, such as not pairing up golfers with players from other teams, Deming felt it went well for the first tournament.
“I felt good just to be at a course with other students from other schools. As separate as we were playing hole by hole, it was a different feel,” he said. “I do think playing with each other is more comfortable, but I don’t know if it brings out the most competitive nature when you have to play against somebody from another school.
“It’s something that we’ll get used to and it was different feel. But we were just happy to be out on the golf course.”
The Panthers return to action Aug. 24 at a tournament in Billings.
GREAT FALLS INVITATIONAL
(at Eagle Falls Golf Course, Great Falls)
Team scores: Gallatin 298; Glacier 312; Billings Senior 317; Helena Capital 329; Flathead 329; Bozeman 333; Billings West 337; Helena High 338; Great Falls CMR; 340; Great Falls 345; Billings Skyview 350; Belgrade 355; Butte 370.
Individual results: Justus Verge, Gallatin, 69*; Jordan Verge, Gallatin, 69; Jack Prigge, Butte, 72; Ezra Epperly, Kalispell, 74; Eli Groshelle, Great Falls CMR 75; Tyler Avery, Kalispell Glacier, 76; Will Salonen, Kalispell Glacier, 76; Tyler Brunner, Billings Senior, 76; Caswell Bloomquist, Helena Capital, 76; Logan Meyer, Helena High, 76; Tyler Avery, Billings Skyview, 76; Will Salonen, Billings Skyview, 76; Jacob Brandon, Bozeman, 77; Trenton Olson, Great Falls, 77; Reece Mayala, Billings Senior, 77; Austin Zeiler, Helena High, 78; Coby Kunda, Kalispell Glacier, 79; Siam Wilaluck, Billings Senior, 79; Ramey Lloyd, Gallatin, 79; Coby Kunda, Billings Skyview, 79; Bryant Rivenbark, Bozeman, 80; Keaton Cassidy, Kalispell Glacier, 81; Gavin Klein, Gallatin, 81; Keaton Cassidy, Billings Skyview, 81; Connor Halligan, Billings West, 82; Cale Hines, Helena Capital, 82; Drew Lowry, Kalispell Flathead, 83; Criox Flohr, Billings West, 83; Luke Huber, Great Falls High, 84; Kadin Gall, Kalispell Flathead, 84; Jacob Wassmer, Billings West, 84; Stevie Voigt, Gallatin, 84; Jaxon Hinshaw, Belgrade, 85; Ehtan Purdy, Kalispell Glacier, 85; Joseph Driscoll, Billings Senior, 85; Dutch Teders, Helena Capital, 85; Ethan Purdy, Billings Skyview, 85; Cade Wagner, Billings Senior, 86; Brett Stoos, Helena Capital, 86; Anthony Madison, Belgrade, 87; James Broderick, Bozeman, 87; Kaleb Engel, Great Falls CMR, 87; Noah Hollenback, Great Falls CMR, 87; Brady Anderson, Butte, 88; Joston Cripe, Kalispell Flathead, 88; Treyden Haber, Billings West, 88; Mitchell Fogelsong, Billings West, 88; Nate Pailthorpe, Bozeman, 89; Lucas Rose, Bozeman, 89; Jacob Maroney, Belgrade, 91; Wyeth Hayes, Great Falls High, 91; Brevyn Goosen, Great Falls CMR, 91; Byren Stoner, Helena High, 91; Justin Garcia, Belgrade, 92; Michael Perkins, Great Falls, 93; Dylan Dobbins, Helena Capital, 93; Myles Jacobs, Helena High, 93; Colter Gee, Belgrade, 99; Hunter Pandis, Helena High, 100; Joseph Lyons, Butte, 103; Carter Phillips, Great Falls CMR, 103; Sam Huckeba, Kalispell Flathead, 103; Jacob Sawyer, 107; Butte, Ethan McCurdy, Great Falls, 113.
* Won scorecard playoff
(at Meadow Lark Country Club, Great Falls)
Team scores: Bozeman 338; Billings Senior 346; Billings West 355; Butte, 360; Billings Skyview 378; Glacier 379; Gallatin High 381; Great Falls CMR 400; Flathead 403; Helena Capital 413. Not score: Belgrade, Helena High, Havre, Great Falls.
Individual results: Marcella Mercer, Kalispell Flathead 75; Kenzie Walsh, Billings Senior, 79; Sami Yates, Bozeman, 81, Cierra Sundheim, Billings Skyview, 82; Cooper Knaar, Bozeman, 82; Meilyn Armstrong, Billings Skyview, 83; Kadence Fischer, Billings West, 83; Bella Johnson, Billings West, 83; Ella Prigge, Butte, 84; Sami Benson, Billings Senior, 84; Franchi Ceartin, Bozeman, 85; Kelly Jones, Great Falls High, 86; Chloe Tanner, Kalispell Glacier, 86; Kodie Hoagland, Butte, 87; Jillian Wynne, Kalispell Flathead, 87; Alana Griffin, Kalispell Glacier, 87; Halle Vandersloot, Gallatin, 88; Elly Atkins, Bozeman, 90; Kendra Thayer, Great Falls CMR, 90; Lauren Mayala, Billings Senior, 90; Barbara McGregor, Billings West, 90; Addiliy Lloyd, Gallatin, 90; Lexi McNew, Helena Capital, 92; Bryn Turnquist, Billings Senior, 93; Kennedy Lean, Butte, 94; Stella Claridge, Kalispell Glacier, 94; MacKenzie Finnegan, Butte, 95; Morgan Sunchild, Great Falls High, 95; Averi Bertram, Bozeman, 97; Nacole Sestrich, Butte, 98; Kylie Henderson, Great Falls CMR, 98; Celi Chapmen, Helena High, 98; Avery Fawcett, Billings Senior, 99; Annika Brocklebank, Billings West, 99; Ella Torsleff, Gallatin, 99; Paige O’Mara, Helena Capital, 100; Megan Swanson, Helena Capital, 101; Tristan Zaremski, Great Falls CMR, 103; Kailyn Hensel, Billings Skyview, 104; Zoie Ceartin, Gallatin, 104; Hayden Trost, Billings West, 106; Alex Madsen, Great Falls CMR, 109; Alex Miller, Billings Skyview,109; Jordan Whitaker, Belgrade, 112; Leila Mamangum, Belgrade, 112; Kenna Sandler, Kalispell Glacier, 112; Gracie Mestas; Billings Skyview, 112; Ryann Walker, Great Falls CMR, 116; McKinlie Murer, Kalispell Flathead, 117; Makayla Bury, Helena Capital, 120; MJ Reid, Kalispell Flathead, 124; Rilie McMahon, Belgrade, 126; Cassidy Levert, Gallatin, 126; Paige Springer, Helena Capital, 131; Addison O’Neill, Great Falls High, 143; Brooklyn Samson, Kalispell Flathead, 146.