George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
Knowing a golf course inside and out can be a distinct advantage to any player. And normally, that is the case as it relates to the Havre High golf teams when the Ponies host their annual Havre Invitational. But things were a little different Saturday at the 2007 Havre invite because the brand new Prairie Farms Golf Course played host to the tournament for the first time, and that course is almost new to everyone. Still, Prairie Farms, and all of its difficulties didn’t stop HHS form finding success at its own meet. The Blue Pony girls captured first-place honors and had three golfers place in the Top 10 individually. And Havre’s Jeremy Jensen outdualed Swiftcurrent’s John McConnell headto- head to take home medalist honors in the boys meet. “It was a good day,” HHS head coach Karla Bolken said. “The weather cooperated and for the most part, our kids played pretty well.” The HHS girls used stellar performances from Haley McLain and Tabitha Beck to catapult the Blue Ponies to the girls’ team title with a score of 395. McLain fired a seasons-best 90 to finish second overall, and Beck followed up her win last week in Browning with a sizzling 92 to finish third. “They (McLain and Beck) were a little up and down to start the season,” Bolken said. “But right now they are both playing really well. And it’s really nice to see.” The Ponies also got a sixth-place finish from Stacey Sheppard (97) which helped enable HHS to stay ahead of second-place CMR. The Rustlers came in with a 409, followed by Lewistown with a 436 and Browning with a 491. Great Falls High and Swiftcurrent did not have enough players to register a team score. Swiftcurrent’s Kaitlyn Blackmar ran away with medalist honors after shooting an 85. Aside from HHS’s top three, the Ponies also got a 116 from Danika Patterson and a 120 from Taylor Haas. Haas was seeing her first varsity action of her career on Saturday. “I was really happy for our girls team,” Bolken said. “They shot the scores that they needed to to win and that’s important form a team standpoint.” And form a team standpoint, the HHS boys didn’t fare nearly as well on their home course. However, the Ponies still got a triumph in the form of Jeremy Jensen’s second straight firstplace finish of the season. Jensen backed up his win last week in Browning with a 4-over par 76 on Saturday, good enough for a one-stroke victory. “I was excited for Jeremy,” Bolken said. “He was down to the Swiftcurrent boy by one stroke after the front nine and he just rose to the occasion and was able to win. I was really excited for him, and he just played awesome.” Jensen has been a model of consistency for HHS the last three weeks, but on Saturday, the rest of the Blue Ponies struggled on their home course. Havre’s Myles Mazurkiewicz just missed out on a Top 10 finish after shooting an 86, and Brett Normandy finished with a 91. Grayson Vukasin rounded out the scoring for HHS with a 102 as the Ponies struggled to a 355 and a fourth-place finish overall. “We just didn’t get the scores we need,” Bolken said. “We have to have scores in the 80s and 90s to be at the top and that didn’t happen on Saturday. But our kids have played well this season, and they just need to get more consistent.” Swiftcurrent captured yet another HHS title with a team score of 323 while Lewistown finished second at 347. CMR No. 2 was third and the Rustlers’ No. 1 team finished fifth, followed by both GFH teams. Both HHS teams will be back on the road Thursday when the Ponies play at Billings Central at Eaglerock Golf Course. On Friday, Havre will participate in the Laurel Invitational at the prestigious Laurel Country Club.