By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
It may be the first week in October and the middle of fall, but don't tell that to the Havre High golf team and the seven other teams that will descend on Beaver Creek Golf Course Saturday morning for the Central A Divisional golf tournament.
Saturday morning marks the first time in their eight-year history that the Blue Ponies and BCGC will play host to a Central A postseason golf tournament. Having the home course advantage is something that has veteran HHS golf coach Keith Evenson excited about this weekend.
"The Central A tournament hasn't been around very long and we are very fortunate to host it this season," Evenson said. "Anytime we can get a golf tournament at Beaver Creek, I think it is a tremendous advantage for us."
Indeed, BCGC will be a distinct advantage for both Havre teams for several reasons. Beaver Creek Golf Course is a wide-open course that features at least one water hazard on 12 different holes and out of bounds to the left on 15 different holes. Those two factors will present a daunting challenge for the seven visiting teams, most of which have never played the Havre course.
"I think the boys will have real distinct advantage because they all grew up here, and they just know the course so well," Evenson said. "I think that a as far as the fairways are concerned everybody will be pretty much even, but the greens are where are boys can take advantage of the course. They know the greens so well and hopefully it will save them a lot of strokes."
But the advantage doesn't just go to the Pony boys, the Pony girls should also benefit as well.
"Our girls team should also have a real advantage because they also know the course really well and they know where to play their shots," Evenson said. "Some of the other girls teams may have some trouble because of all the water hazards and just not knowing the course."
While both Havre teams have to be considered favorites to capture a Central A title this weekend, the HHS boys team will be considered heavy favorites. The Ponies are the defending Central A champions and return three potential medalist winners from that 2002 team in seniors Trent Normandy and Chazz Hurlburt as well as junior Ben Erickson. Freshmen Matt Hedstrom and senior Tony Jensen will round out the Pony lineup.
"We have three guys that definitely should be in the top ten this weekend," Evenson said. "And Trent (Normandy) will definitely be the favorite to win the tournament. I really believe he is playing his best golf right now."
Joining the Ponies on the boys side will be Lewistown, Anaconda, Browning, Belgrade, Butte Central, Livingston and Dillon. Only Lewistown and Browning have seen the Havre course before. Since Havre's schedule has either kept them close to home or at AA tournaments, Evenson really isn't sure what type of competition the other teams will bring to the tournament.
"The fact is that we just haven't seen much of the teams from our division," Evenson said. "Anaconda has some nice players and we beat them at their tournament so I feel really good about our chances."
The same holds true in the girls' race. Only Lewistown and Browning have played at BCGC before and Dillon, Belgrade and Butte Central will not field full teams. That leaves just Livingston and Anaconda as potential stumbling blocks on Havre's way to sending a full girls team to the state tournament.
"I don't know if our girls team should be favored to win this weekend," Evenson said. "But I think we have a real good chance to get the team to state and that has been our goal all season long."
One thing that is certain is the Ponies have a bonafide medalist contender in senior Brittany Job, who has several top ten finishes to her credit this season and has been steadily improving every week.
"Brittany has been playing really well all season," Evenson said. "I expect her to be right there on Saturday and I also think that if Amanda Brock can play to her capabilities she will also have a good chance to finish in the top ten."
Joining Brock and Job in the Havre lineup will be a pair of freshmen in Alli Ward and Morgan Zimmer. Senior Catlin Anderson will round out the Blue Pony team.
The Central A Divisional tournament is set to start at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning at Beaver Creek Golf Course, but that will be a tentative start due to possible frost delays. The forecast for Saturday's round calls for highs in the mid-60's with sunshine and light winds. Teams will also use Beaver Creek Golf Course for a practice round throughout the day today.