LAUREL — While Laurel swept the Class A state tournament team golf titles on Friday at Laurel Golf Club, the Bitterroot brought home both bronze trophies.
The Locomotives cruised to their second straight state girls team title, and sophomore Hannah Adams placed first among the girls by five strokes, edging Corvallis' Macee Greenwood in second.
It was Greenwood's second straight runner up finish at the Class A state tournament.
"...Obviously she would have liked to have (won), but to do what it takes to finish in the Top 2 (the first two seasons of a high school career) is really impressive," Corvallis coach Kristy Schlimgen said.
And in Corvallis' fourth year as a golf program overall, the Blue Devil girls are bringing home their second straight state trophy.
Along with Greenwood's second-place finish, senior Keelee Storrud had an all-state finish to help power Corvallis' third-place score of 805. That was three strokes better than Sidney, but just two strokes off Whitefish (803) in second place.
"We're really proud of the kids. They worked really hard to finish in the medal round. It was exciting," Schlimgen said. "The only tough part was we knew had a just a little lower scores we could have beat Whitefish for second place.
"But it was a tough course and golf is pressure. There's a lot of pressure on those kids."
Individually, the competition and pressure is going to be there for years to come for the girls toward the top of the leaderboard. Greenwood and Adams, who are both sophomores, were tied for first place after Day 1 of the state tournament on Laurel's home course. Hannah's twin sister Haylee Adams finished one stroke behind Greenwood in third place.
The sophomore trio in Friday's first-place grouping will likely see more of each other in the years to come.
"They're going to have a fantastic competition over the next two years," Schlimgen said. "It'll be fun to watch them progress and grow and compete against each other."
For Hamilton's Tristan Hanson and Bryce Reed, both seniors, their all-state performances and third-place team trophy served as the sendoff for the talented golfers.
Hanson tied for fourth with a two-day score of 78-80-158, while Reed was one place behind with a 161. The seniors, who started their high school golf career with a state championship in 2016, added another trophy to the collection. That gives them all three colors in the cabinet — gold (2016), silver (2018) and now bronze (2019).
"It was real rewarding. Those are great kids and they deserve what they got — they all put in the time," Hamilton coach Owen Burch said. "Do they all they feel like they could have done better? Of course they do, but that's why they've gotten so much better is because they strive to be the best they can.
"As a coach I was very pleased with them. We hold ourselves to a very high standard. ...That's what I told those kids. You might have gotten a third-place trophy, but you're a No. 1 class act."
Hamilton sophomore Aly Rose earned her second-straight all-state finish Friday, and Stevensville Jasi Oyler, who was just one stroke away from an all-state medal last season, broke through with a Top 10 finish this year.
Hamilton's Tanner Hanson, a junior, joined his older brother and Reed with an all-state finish in a tie for seventh and the Broncs were just four strokes off the team lead after Day 1 on Thursday.
"It was survival of the fittest the first day and we did a really nice job of handling it," Burch said. "We were right there. The second day, Laurel's home-course experience helped them out."
The Laurel boys edged Billings Central by four strokes for their third title in a row, while Whitefish’s Cameron Kahle beat Laurel’s Carson Hackmann in a playoff.
“It’s really a difficult thing to summarize because you have so many different emotions going different ways,” said Laurel coach Jim O’Neil. “Obviously, I’m pretty dang happy. Mission accomplished.”
Other than a little bit of wind and morning frost, the conditions were pristine at Laurel Golf Club both days, but the course played tough for all the teams thanks, in part, to super fast greens according to coaches and players.
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The beauty of golf, though, every one had to play the same course.
Laurel’s title-winning boys team score was 89-over 665. The Locomotive girls finished the two-day tournament at 166-over 742, the only girls team score under 800.
Kahle and Hackmann both carded a 79 in the first round and a 77 in the second, good for 12-over through 36 holes. No boys golfer shot better than 77 in either round. Last year, 17 boys rounds were 76 or lower.
The best girls score this week was Adams’ 82 on Friday. She shot an 83 on Friday and finished 21-over for the tournament. That score would have finished 13 strokes behind last year’s winner, Butte Central then-senior Tricia Joyce.
Hackmann grinded all day, recording two birdies and seven bogeys through 16 holes. But the junior avoided anything worse than a bogey and held a one-stroke lead going into the par-3 17th hole. Considering the scoring conditions, pars on the final two holes would seemingly get it done.
Hackmann’s odds improved when Lewistown’s Caleb Myers bogeyed the No. 17 to fall two strokes back of the lead, and Hackmann’s teammate Nick Pasquarello parred the reachable par-5 18th one group ahead. Everyone else still playing was at least two strokes behind.
Unlike Hackmann, Kahle knew exactly how far back he was of first place going into the 17th hole, and his odds were slim. He was three strokes back following a bogey on No. 16.
The Whitefish junior flushed his tee shot on the 17th hole and faced a 10-to-15-foot birdie putt. He pumped his right fist and yelled “c’mon” as the ball disappeared into the cup.
“That was the momentum shift,” he said. “I was like, ‘This is my tournament.’”
Kahle, who shot a 7-over 43 on the front nine, crushed his drive on No. 18 right down the middle. He chose a 4-iron for his second shot, hit a high cut and plunked the ball on the green, leaving himself a 10-to-15-foot putt for eagle.
Hackmann missed his long birdie putt and faced about five feet for par as Kahle lined up his eagle attempt. Once again, Kahle made his putt and pumped his right fist. The tournament was tied.
“That is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” he said.
Hackmann calmly knocked in his par putt to avoid a sudden loss and force a sudden death playoff.
Both players hit nearly identical shots throughout the first two playoff holes and settled for pars. Kahle nailed his drive on the third hole, the par-4 10th, while Hackmann hooked his into a pond.
“That’s not how I wanted to win,” Kahle said.
Hackmann was lying four by the time he reached the green, while Kahle was on in two. Hackmann two-putted for double bogey. Kahle faced a short par putt knowing a bogey would suffice.
He would have preferred to sink the par try, but state champions aren’t dinged for bogeys, especially not this week.
“I practiced so hard this past summer that I knew what it took,” Kahle said. “It took me 16 holes to warm up, and I came (through) when I needed to.”
Adams was similar to Hackmann Friday. While other golfers were carding triple bogeys and building snowmen, she stayed steady. A double-bogey on No. 18 (her ninth hole) was the only score worse than bogey all day, and she had built a significant cushion by then.
Kyle Houghtaling of the Ravalli Republic contributed to this story.