Behind Emerson, Polson completes State A golf sweep
| October 2, 2023 12:00 AM
SIDNEY — The Polson golf teams nailed down their state title sweep Saturday, and found another 1A golfer along the way.
Hunter Emerson was the Pirate that won medalist honors, shooting the best boys round Saturday at Sidney Country Club: a 73 that gave him a two-day total of even-par 144.
When you win a tournament, certain shots tend to stick out.
“On 16 and 17 I made two long putts today,” said the senior, who hit from 15-20 feet to make par and birdie — and gained three strokes on Brady Powell, the Corvallis cover who finished one stroke back.
“And there was my hole-in-one yesterday.”
On Friday, with Polson tied with Laurel and Emerson about to enter what is the toughest stretch on Sidney’s course — holes 4 through 6 — Pirates’ coach Cameron Milton sought to stay with Emerson for the allowed two holes.
“I said, I’ll help you get to the house, and he was like, ‘Nope,’” Milton said. “Then he pars four, hoops it on five and birdies six. We went from tied with Laurel to eight up, basically because he played his last four holes 3-under.”
Powell, for the record, was in a different group; Emerson played alongside teammate Christian Lund (tied for 11th at 160), Libby’s Reece Malyevac (fifth, 149) and Sam Norman of Laurel (tied for sixth).
He wasn’t aware of how Powell, or last year’s medalist Aubrey Kelley of Livingston or teammate Carson Hupka (fourth, 147) were doing.
“I had no idea,” he said. “No idea at all. I just knew on the few finishing holes I had to grind it out and do the best I could. Just clutch up.”
While the Polson girls had an easier time winning their second straight title — they ended up 24 strokes clear of runner-up Billings Central — the boys had to battle.
“It was between 8 and 11 strokes all day, and we were ready to watch it come in,” Milton said. “And then it got tight.”
Polson closed at 612, just three ahead of Laurel.
“It was tough,” Milton said. “The wind was strong, about 20-30 miles per hour, and most of our closing holes, for the boys and the girls, were just dead into the wind.”
Still Polson had four boys earn All-State (top 15) honors, with the fourth being Espn Fisher, who tied for 13th with four other golfers at 161.
Bigfork’s Colin Wade, the State B medalist this past spring, ended up with eighth at 152.
Frenchtown’s Katie Lewis shot a 69 Saturday to surge to her second straight medalist honor. Trailing by four strokes to Polson’s Ashley Maki after Friday’s round, she ended 12 strokes clear of Bigfork’s Keni Wade — who also was B medalist in the spring — and 13 ahead of Maki.
Behind Maki, Polson’s Kylee Seifert tied for fifth at 174 while Kila Cannon was just outside the All-State cutoff with a 189 total. Clare Konen came in tied for 36th, and while most other teams had five golfers, none of them had the goods to catch Polson’s Iron Four.
“Those girls, to repeat,” Milton began. “This course was extremely difficult. It was hard, it was fast, it was windy. The kids were phenomenal and just got it done.
“In four years, they’ve got two girls’ state championships, a second and third and a first for the boys. Otto (Lund) was All-State three times, Carson three times, Hunter four times, Ashley Maki four times. … Getting over the Laurel hump was big. That was our goal this year.”
Emerson turned the tide, grabbing a 7-iron to play the 200-yard No. on Friday.
“I saw the “1” pop up on GolfGenius and thought somebody just miss-typed,” Milton said. “Then his dad texted John (Kelley) and I: ‘Hey, Hunter just hooped it.’ “
“It landed right in the middle of the green and just trickled right in,” Emerson said. “First time we led Laurel during the tournament.
State A Golf
Sept. 29-30, Sidney Country Club
Team scores — 1, Polson 612; 2, Laurel 615; 3, Corvallis 635; 4, Livingston 641; 5, Billings Central 668; 6, Hamilton 702; 7, Lewistown 711; 8, Ronan 713.
Individual Top 15
Hunter Emerison 71-73—144
Brady Powell, Corvallis 70-75—145
Aubrey Kelley, Livingston 71-75—146
Carson Hupka, Polson 70-77—147
Reece Malyevac, Libby 72-77—149
Cameron Hackman, Laurel 71-80—151
Sam Norman, Laurel 75-76—151
Colin Wade, Bigfork 76-76—152
Tate Jessop, Corvallis 77-76—153
Houston Dunn, Livingston 80-79—159
Christian Lund, Polson 76-84—160
Kyle Kennah, Laurel 78-82—160
Espn Fisher, Polson 76-86—161
Royce Taylor, Laurel 77-84—161
Caleb Fornshell, Billings Central 82-79—161
Carter Wichman, Lewisotwn 83-78—`161
Team scores — 1, Polson 736; 2, Billings Central 760; 3, Hamilton 767; 4, Frenchtown 799; 5, Sidney 808; 6, Dillon 809; 7, Lockwood 813; 8, Laurel 843.
Individual Top 15
Katie Lewis, Frenchtown 79-69—148
Keni Wade, Bigfork 80-80—160
Ashley Maki, Polson 75-86—161
Jori Haugen, Billings Central 82-88—170
Kylee Seifert, Polson 85-89—174
Alivia Webinger, Laurel 88-86—174
Kiaralynn Weidinger, Lockwood 88-87—175
Camille Poncin, Livingston 91-87—178
Emma Hollingsworth, Hamilton 86-93—179
Skylar LaPierre, Dillon 93-91—184
Anna Prill, Billings Central 83-102—185
Cameron Burnett, Hamilton 96-91—187
Bryn Cianflone, Hamilton 97-90—187
Alyssa Robertus, Laurel 93-95—188
Anna Lende, Livingston 94-94—188