From tee to green Local Golf Report
Rain, rain go away. That might not be the saying that pleases everyone in North Central Montana, but local golfers are hoping for somewhat dryer conditions to get the golf season back on track. Last week at Prairie Farms Golf Course, an entire week of league play was wiped out due to plenty of rain and wet course conditions, but the sun came out just long enough for the annual Natalie Patrick Memorial Tournament to be held in successful fashion at Prairie Farms. And now, with better weather conditions predicted for the next two weeks, it looks like the summer will have a more consistent golf season after all. Good weather also blanketed the Shelby area this past weekend and that allowed the prestigious Oilfield Invitational to be held at Marias Valley Golf Club. The two-day, 36-hole stroke play event is one of the more challenging tournaments on the Montana amateur golf circuit, and this year was no exception. But as tough as the Oilfield is, Havre was certainly well-represented as former Havre High standout Jason Johnstone finished second in the event just one stroke behind champion Andy Hessen of Three Forks. Hessen shot a final-round 69 to finish the tournament at 5-underpar, one stroke better than Johnstone, who shot even-par 72 on the second day to go along with his sizzling 4-under-par 68 on the first day of the tournament. Johnstone, who is one of Montana's brightest amateur golfers, splits time during the year between working in Arizona and Whitefish, and he has had strong finishes at the Oil- field before. Johnstone's summer is off to a strong start and he will likely contend in more Montana tournament's throughout the summer. Johnstone's younger brother Jon Johnstone also reached the championship flight of the tournament after shooting a solid 74 on the first day. The former Blue Pony and Montana Tech golfer came back to shoot a 79, good for a two-day total of 153 and a strong ninth-place finish overall.