Johnstone goes head-to-head with Hedge at state-am
George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
Just as he predicted would happen, Havre native Jason Johnstone is going to have to chase defending champion Josh Hedge of Billings if he wants to capture his first Montana State Amateur Men’s golf championship. Despite almost perfect conditions on Thursday morning at the Missoula Country Club, both Johnstone and the tournament’s 36-hole leader Hedge, fired disappointing 1-over par 72s in the third round of the 89th Montana State Men’s Amateur golf tournament. The lackluster rounds came after Hedge opened the tournament with rounds of 66 and 68. Johnstone, who started Wednesday’s third round three strokes behind Hedge in second place, opened the tournament with rounds of 70 and 67. Johnstone remains in second place, still three strokes behind Hedge going into today’s final round, where the two will be paired together. Even though scoring at MCC has been low over the first two days, only one player, Missoula’s Brad Solander scored in the 60s on Wednesday. Solander finished his third round by carding a 69. Besides Hedge and Johnstone, there was plenty of moving on the leaderboard on Wednesday. Billings native and Rocky Mountain College standout Kelbi Lee put himself back into contention with a 1-under 70, which moved him all the way from ninth place to solo third. However, Lee is still five strokes off of the lead entering today’s final round. Whitefish High School standout Shawn Tucker also recorded a 70 on Wednesday to move into fourth place on the leaderboard. Josh Gold of Kalispell, who had the low round of the tournament on Tuesday with a 65, fired a solid 70 on Wednesday, and would have been tied with Johnstone heading into the final 18 holes. However, Gold was disqualified from the tournament for taking an illegal drop on the infamous par-3 17th hole. Gold, a former golf pro in Arizona, was forced to take the drop after his tee shot landed in a hazard. While Johnstone has carried the flag for Havre this week in Missoula, he wasn’t the only former or current Blue Pony making noise on Thursday. Havre High senior Matt Hedstrom fired a solid round of 73 to move up 31 places on the leaderboard. Hedstrom is in a group of five players who are at 232 for the tournament. That group includes Missoula native and former state-am champ Gary Koprivika. Class of 2006 HHS graduate Sean Strand shot 78 on Thursday while his dad, Steve Strand, carded an 87. HHS senior Brandon Job shot 82 in the third round, and Steve Johnstone recorded a 92 to round out the scoring for Havre players.