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Wolfpack boy golfers win opening meet big

by FRITZ NEIGHBOR
Daily Inter Lake | August 16, 2023 12:00 AM

GREAT FALLS — Coming off a second-place finish at last year’s State AA tournament, the Glacier Wolfpack boys golf team had high expectations for 2023.

On Monday and Tuesday the Wolfpack made a statement, winning the opening Great Falls Invitational by 22 strokes.

Junior Sam Engellant fired a closing 68 at Eagle Falls Golf Club on Tuesday — he had a 70 Monday at Meadowlark Country Club — to tie Missoula Sentinel’s Kade McDonough for first at 6-under 138.

McDonough, a senior who was State AA medalist as a freshman in 2020, won by virtue of a scorecard playoff.

With sophomore Trevor Cunningham tying for third at 143, junior Tanyon Murray and freshman Torren Murray in a three-way tie for ninth (151) and Wes Weber (153) in the top 13, the Pack had a two-day total of 580. They led Billings Skyview by 13, 290-303, after the first day, and the Falcons stayed in second on Tuesday with a total of 602.

Sentinel was third at 610; Flathead’s boys, led by Dylan Morris’ 143, were eighth at 654.

On the girls’ side, Glacier was seventh and Flathead 13th out of 14 full teams. Billings Senior (673) rolled up a 17-stroke team victory over Billings West, and Bozeman was a distant third at 735.

The Wolfpack’s Chloe Tanner finished fourth with a two-day total of 161, including an opening 77. Defending state champion Bella Johnson of Billings West shot 153 to take medalist honors over Senior’s Kenzie Walsh by three strokes.

Payzlee Boyce was Flathead’s top golfer with a total of 218.

Temperatures reached 99 degrees Tuesday, and the rounds lasted seven hours both days. The Pack held up well.

“If I’m being honest, it’s kind of where I was expecting,” Glacier coach Chris Michno said. “Overall I just have a great group of kids. They love the game, respect the game and are fun to be around. And they push each other. Every day is a competition which only makes them better.”

The boys also have staying power: There are no seniors on the team.

“We had a playoff for the fifth spot to go to Great Falls,” Michno said. “Jonah Wynne, who is a junior, went with the JV team to the Columbia Falls Invitational and shot a 67. I would consider him next in line for sure.”

The Wolfpack girls aren’t quite as deep, but have a proven No. 1 golfer in Tanner.

“Chloe is our sole senior and a very talented player,” Michno said. “She’s looking to improve on her top-five finish last year at state.

“The rest of our girls are pretty new to the game and have been making strides individually. The process is to get better one day at a time. Don’t worry about the results and enjoy the process.”

Braelyn Ryan, a junior, shot rounds of 99 and 96 in Great Falls. Maci Hoffenbacker is a freshman, and Abbi Townsend and Kendall Tkachyk are sophomores for the Pack.

Morris was an All-State player for Flathead last season, and Tyler Williams and Korbin Eaton are back from a team that finished eighth out of 10 teams at the 2022 State AA meet.

The top four teams plus ties from the Western AA qualify for state, and Flathead coach Roy Antley sees potential for both his teams to get to Lake Hills Golf Course in Billings Sept. 28-29.

Morris, a junior, shot 69 on Monday.

“Dylan had a really good tournament,” Antley said. “His putter kind of went to sleep on him today but he really played a steady two rounds of golf.”

Williams and Oscar Kallis were the seniors that played in Great Falls; Eaton is a junior and sophomore Conner Gall filled out the team.

Antley feels senior Kyler Christie, sophomores Tucker Morin and Tucker Paul and freshman Tryg Gislason.could all see varsity action, and feels Eaton and Williams are threats to join Morris as All-State golfers (finishing in the top 15 in Billings).

Boyce, Becca Vosen and Ladahlia Hook are seniors on the girls team, and junior Kyrie Gilslason and freshman Hayden Ward golf in Great Falls.

Sophomore Raquel Schmidt is another varsity contender, Antley said.

“Goals are to qualify for state, but we have some work to do to get there,” he added. “Becca and Ladahlia have been with us since freshman year, and I’m counting on them to step up.

“Payzlee and Kyrie are very good athletes with less golfing experience but are learning fast. Hayden is a super energetic freshman and hard worker. I’m excited to see how much they can improve.”

Both Flathead and Glacier will compete at the Missoula Invitational next Monday and Tuesday.

Great Falls Invitational

Aug. 14-15

BOYS

Team scores — Glacier 580, Billings Skyview 602, Missoula Sentinel 610, Helena Capital 631, Gallatin 635, Bozeman 641, Billings Senior 652, Flathead 654, Butte 656, Billings West 666, Missoula Big Sky 684, Great Falls CMR 685, Belgrade 737, Great Falls High 745, Great Falls JV 751, CMR JV 761, Helena 786.

Individual Top 15

Kade McDonough, Sentinel 72-66—138*

Sam Engellant, Glacier 70-68—138

Ty Boone, Skyview 71-72—143*

Dylan Morris, Flathead 69-74—143*

Trevor Cunningham, Glacier 69-74—143

Isaac Mosser, Skyview 75-73—148

Kyler Meredith, Capital 70-79—149

Cooper Bourret, Bozeman 74-76—150

John Gilbert, Capital 76-75—151

Torren Murray, Glacier 76-75—151

Tanyon Murray, Glacier 78-73—151

Logan Connolly, Skyview 76-76—152

Wes Weber, Glacier 75-78—153

Hudson Goroski, Sentinel 78-75—153

Toby Dinges, Gallatin 79-77—156.

*-won scorecard playoff.

GLACIER (580) — Trevor Cunningham 69-74—143; Torren Murray 76-75—151; Sam Engellant 70-68—138; Tanyon Murray 78-73—151; Wes Weber 75-78—153.

FLATHEAD (654) — Dylan Morris 69-74—143; Korbin Eaton 80-90—170; Tyler Williams 83-81—164; Oscar Kallis 86-92—178; Conner Gall 90-91—181.

GIRLS

Team scores — Billings Senior 673, Billings West 690, Bozeman 735, Great Falls CMR 758, Gallatin 768, Belgrade 785, Glacier 798, Butte 825, Helena 842, Billings Skyview 862, Missoula Sentinel 870, Great Falls High 900, Flathead 906, Missoula Big Sky 916.

Individual Top 15

Bella Johnson, West 74-79—153

Kenzie Walsh, Senior 75-81—156

Anna Stensrud, Hellgate 77-80—157

Chloe Tanner, Glacier 77-84—161

Mielle Kavran, West 85-77—162

Hanna Boyd, Great Falls 84-81—165

Lev Heaney, Big Sky 83-85—168

Lauren Mayala, Senior 85-84—169

Olivia McGreevey, Capital 90-80—170

Moe Kobold, Senior 87-84—171

Arrianna Vaughn, Bozeman 85-87—172

Ryann Walker, CMR 88-87—175

Alison Shenk, West 87-89—176

Addison Bleile, Gallatin 92-88—180

Avery Wright, Senior 89-92—181.

GLACIER (798) — Chloe Tanner 77-84—161; Braelyn Ryan 99-96—195; Maci Hoffenbackedr 116-108—224; Abbi Townsend 117-110—227; Kendal Tkachyk 108-118—226.

FLATHEAD (906) — Ladahlia Hook 115-114—229; Becca Vosen 121-113—234; Kyrie Gislason 114-114—228; Payzlee Boyce 109-109—218; Hayden Ward 118-129—247.