No one who participated in the Class AA’s state golf tournament will ever forget how it concluded Tuesday at Meadowlark Country Club.
An expected snowstorm arrived a little early and impacted the final two holes. Golfers managed to complete the tournament in Great Falls despite the accumulating snow and wind.
“The last hour and a half just deteriorated to the point of almost unplayable,” first-year Belgrade coach Mike Deming said. “But they grinded it out and got all 18 in.”
Brock Blake led Belgrade at the tournament, becoming the first golfer in program history to earn All-State honors in AA.
“He’s the first one in the last couple of years to be an All-State player for Belgrade. But not only that, our first year in double A for him to be a medalist I think is pretty neat and pretty special,” said Deming. “I think it contributes to the amount of effort he put in, especially the last couple of weeks.”
Blake had rounds of 85 and 83 to finish with a 168 to place 11th. Bozeman brothers Justus and Jordan Verge finished with scores of 144 and 148, respectively, to lead the Hawks to a second consecutive team title.
Bozeman won the championship by 68 strokes as Missoula Sentinel finished with a 688 to place second and Helena Capital a 690 for third. Belgrade finished in a tie for eighth along with Missoula Big Sky with a 723.
“Yesterday we were sixth and we just had a couple of guys that the weather got the best of the golf ball,” said Deming. “But I think our first state tournament to be right in the middle of the pack of the double A is something that they can be proud of.”
Anthony Madison had rounds of 89 and 89 for a 178 to place 30th, while Jaxson Hinshaw had rounds of 89 and 93 to place 35th. The Panthers were rounded out by Brodie Falk (99-96—195) and Braxton Butler (102-101—203), who were 53rd and 62nd, respectively.
“Difficult state tournament considering yesterday with some serious wind and today with a little bit of wind and cold, and then obviously the snow storm at the end,” said Deming. “But the the one thing that we were asking them to be was consistent from Day 1 to Day 2 and I think both Jaxson and Anthony were able to do that.”
On the girls side, Bozeman won its fourth consecutive championship after carding a 700, while Billings West placed second with a 722. Belgrade did not field a full team.
Sophia Flikkema was 52nd for the Panthers with a 204 (113-117), while Brynn Butler was 54th (130-133—236) and Jordan Whitaker 59th (137-141—278).
“Brynn did a nice job yesterday to today. She was very consistent in her scores. Sophia had a great day yesterday. She really played great considering the wind,” said Deming. “And Jordan, for her first experience as a freshman, was a bonus.”
While the majority of the team is expected to return, Belgrade will lose Braxton Butler and Sophia Flikkema from the varsity to graduation.
“I thought he (Butler) did a nice job of leading the team. He was very helpful in helping some of the younger players. He was patient with them,” said Deming. “Sophia is always an individual who gives you the best effort not only in the classroom, but also in any activity that she’s in. She’s just a pleasant person to be around.”