Havre’s Jason Johnstone tied for sixth after opening round of Montana State Amateur tourney; defending champion Hedge tied for the lead
George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Havre High golfing great Jason Johnstone came agonizingly close to winning his first Montana State Amateur championship last year in Shelby. Johnstone finished third behind champion Josh Hedge and former HHS teammate Nick Obie. With Obie now playing professional golf in California, Johnstone is trying to get even closer to the state-am championship, and on Tuesday he got things off to a very good start. Johnstone opened the 2006 Montana State Amateur golf tournament at the Missoula Country Club with a 1-under par round of 70, which put him in a five-way tie for sixth place, but only four strokes off the lead. Despite playing well at the heavilywooded and extremely tight MCC, Johnstone is in familiar territory, chasing Hedge. The 19-year-old defending champion from Billings opened the tournament with a stellar 66, as did fellow Billings youngster Kelbi Lee. The pair share the openingday lead, two strokes ahead of Hamilton’s Craig Hurlburt, and three strokes clear of Billy Thompson of Great Falls and Joe Cielak of Libby. Other Havre participants in the event include, Matt Hedstrom, who shot 80, Sean Strand and Brandon Job, who both shot 83, Steve Strand, who carded an 85, and Steve Johnstone, who opened the tournament with a 90. The 72-hole tournament runs through Friday, with the field being flighted after today’s second round. At the 2006 Montana Women’s State Amateur tournament, which is being held in Great Falls, Havre’s Melanie Fee opened the tournament in the eighth flight, shooting a round of 104. Anna Toner, Mary Ann McLean and Becky Wimmer are in the tenth flight. Toner shot 102, McLean 103 and Wimmer 104.