Havre Daily News Sports
Beaver Creek Golf Course in Havre is usually a very busy place every summer. But with summer fading, golf tends to give way to other things. However, this weekend BCGC will come alive as the Havre High golf team hosts the annual Havre Invitational golf tournament on Saturday morning.
The tournament will get under way with a shotgun start at 9:30 a.m. It will feature 60 boys and girls from five schools. HHS head coach Carla Bolken said that hosting the tournament is something that her golf team looks forward to every year for various reasons.
"This is always a good tournament for our players," Bolken said. "It is always nice to get a chance to stay at home and not have to travel.
"The kids are always very comfortable playing on their home course," she added. "I expect both our boys and girls teams to do very well on Saturday."
Normally, this tournament usually ensures that the HHS boys are the odds-on favorite to capture the boys team title.
Things may be a little harder to figure out because there will be two Havre varsity teams competing against each other. The Ponies have very solid depth this season. Bolken has taken different lineups to each of the first four tournaments that Havre has competed in this season. To maximize the experience, she is splitting up those eight players for two squad.
"We have basically eight kids who are playing well enough to be on varsity right now," Bolken said. "Practice has been very competitive and we have a lot of kids shooting good scores. So we tried to divide things up pretty evenly for this weekend."
The Havre High blue team will feature Havre's hottest player in Brandon Job. Juniors Matt Hedstrom, Billy Wagner and Marshall Cartwright will also compete for the blue team as will Tim McLean.
The HHS white team will feature senior Sean Strand, who is fresh off of an outstanding performance on Tuesday at the Belgrade Invitational. Joining Strand will be Anthony Wirtzberger, Chris Owens and a pair of solid freshmen in Jeremy Jensen and Miles Mazurkiewicz.
"It should be pretty interesting to see how these teams do against each other," Bolken said. "Brandon has been our top player at every tournament and Sean is also playing really well right now."
Of course, the HHS boys won't just be competing against themselves on Saturday. The Lewistown boys bring a solid contingent and the CMR and Great Falls High junior varsity teams will also be very strong. Browning will round out the field for Saturday's tournament.
"I think that on a good day Lewistown is capable of doing very well against us," Bolken said. "And I expect that CMR will probably have a very strong team as well."
All of the same teams will also compete in the girls tournament, where HHS is a clear-cut favorite to repeat as Havre Invitational champions.
The Ponies are coming off a solid third-place finish at the Belgrade Invitational. They have finished way ahead of Lewistown and Browning each week that they have faced them.
"I expect our girls to do very well this weekend," Bolken said. "They are all playing well and they know the course. CMR will have some good players, but I think our girls team will be very tough to beat."
The HHS girls lineup remains unchanged with junior Ali Ward leading the way. Ward has been a top 10 player every week for the Ponies and shows no signs of slowing down. Sophomores Stacy Sheppard and Hailey McLain will be joined by Tabitha Beck and Avery Hanson to round out the Blue Pony lineup.
While the Havre High girls roster will look the same this week as it has for the previous three weeks, one thing that is changing are the scores some of the young Blue Ponies are shooting right now. Sheppard has been consistent and McLain's numbers are starting to come down with each round. Beck has also been a very pleasant surprise.
"That is what we need to be a good team," Bolken said. "We need at least four girls to shoot good scores each round and right now we are getting that. Our girls are playing really well. I think they will continue to improve.
The Havre Invitational is scheduled to get under way at 9:30 a.m. at Beaver Creek Golf Course. The round is slated to end at around 3 p.m.