Acharya returns to defend 4th of July golf title

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The 83rd annual Earl Hunt Memorial 4th of July Golf Tournament at Whitefish Lake Golf Club begins its three-day run Thursday, July 4th.

Play starts each day of the 54-hole event at 7:30 a.m.

The men will play the South Course the first day, the North Course the second and the South Course again on the final day.

The order for women is North, South and North.

The field will consist of 240 entries.

“Maxed out,” Tim Olson, the PGA head professional at Whitefish Lake Golf Club, said.

“There is a waiting list on that number.”

Olson said the tournament field was filled by April 1.

“It’s one of the premier events in the Pacific Northwest,” Olson said.

Jasi Acharya of Carver, Minnesota, returns to defend her women’s title, but Cory Mehl of Seattle is not entered.

Mehl has turned professional, making him ineligible for play.

Acharya broke the South Course record on the first day of play a year ago with a 63. Par is 72.

She finished four shots ahead of the field

Mehl claimed a one-shot victory over Logan Lindholm of Kalispell.

The last local 4th of July winner was Josh Gold of Kalispell in 2006.

Before that, it was Christine Newton of Whitefish and David Morberg of Kalispell, both in 1987.

“It has a lot to do with the (talented) field,” Olson said of why this tournament is so difficult for local golfers to win.

Year in and year out, it attracts top collegiate and prep players along with outstanding amateurs.

Kramer Hickok of Plano, Texas, who won the tournament in 2013-14, was a member of the University of Texas golf team those two years. He is currently on the professional tour.

“We have two high quality courses,” Olson said of what draws the players here.

“The atmosphere of the club, people having a great time, the derby, music on the deck and the town of Whitefish … there is so much to do with the lake and the culture. A variety of things to do. It’s almost a vacation for most of these guys and gals.”

And speaking of the course …

“It is spectacular,” Olson said.

“Outstanding. We had a wet June and that has helped get things growing. Now we expect sunshine next week.”

There will be a Derby the second night of the tournament featuring the top men and women finishers from opening day. That will begin at 5 p.m. and be played on the front nine of the North Course.

People are encouraged to attend and watch the action all three days.

“There will be 300, 400 in the gallery,” Olson said.

“It’s festive for sure.”

Earl Hunt Memorial 4th of July Golf Tournament

Whitefish Lake Golf Club

Past Winners

2018

Men — Cory Mehl, Seattle

Women — Jasi Acharya, Carver, Minnesota

2017

Men — Joey Moore, Billings

Women — Hailey Hoagland, Butte

2016

Men — Andrew Medley, Scottsdale, Arizona

Women — Sadie Crippen, Missoula

2015

Men — Bob Conrad, Yarrow Point, Washington

Women — Darah Newell, Helena

2014

Men — Kramer Hickok, Plano, Texas

Women — Morgan Lee, Great Falls

2013

Men — Kramer Hickok, Plano, Texas

Women — Lindsay Reeve, Missoula

2012

Men — Andrew Medley, Scottsdale, Arizona

Women — Morgan Lee, Great Falls

2011

Men — Craig Hurlbert, Hamilton

Women — Rikka Holiday, Bozeman

2010

Men — Jake Wagner, Portland, Oregon

Women — Darah Newell, Helena

2009

Men — Jens Bracht, Lake Front, Washington

Women — Rose Stepanek, Missoula

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