George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
The thing about the summer coming to an end for high school golfers, is that it marks the beginning of their march towards their dreams on the links. And for the Havre High School golf teams, those dreams become a reality on Monday, as the Blue Ponies get set to tee up their season at the prestigious seasonopening Great Falls Invitational. The season isn't just new for the HHS players, but also for first-year head coach Jeff Jensen, who takes over the golf program from longtime head and assistant coach Karla Bolken. "It's gone really good so far," Jensen said. "Practice is going well, the kids are hitting the ball well right now. I'm really excited about the season starting. It's going to be a lot of fun." Jensen has an HHS boys team looking to get back to the top of golf supremacy in the Central A Conference. After a lengthy reign as Central A champions, last season the Ponies lost their title to Lewistown by a single stroke at the divisional tournament in Livingston. Havre went on to finish a very-respectable seventh at the Class A state met in Anaconda. And the quest to get the divisional title back will be aided this season by a trio of veteran golfers, led by senior Jeremy Jensen. Jeremy Jensen had multiple Top 10 finish last year, including earning the divisional championship, as well as a ninth-place Class A All-State finish at the state tournament. Havre also returns a pair of steady juniors in Brett Normandy and Myles Mazurkiewicz, both of whom have played on the varsity teams since they were freshmen, and both of whom are capable of shooting good scores. "Those guys look really good right now," Jeff Jensen said. "The three of them are hitting it well, and they are in good form. Right now, it's just about getting more course time, playing more golf." HHS has a total of 13 boys out for golf this season including juniors Cody Brunk, Damon Anderson and Rafferty Reddes. Brunk will be Havre's No. 4 player next week in Great Falls, and that trio should vie for varsity spots throughout the season. Sophomore Keenan Doezal and freshmen Blaine Grizak, Kaleb Fisher, Simon McCann, Colton Wedding, Trygg Moog and Davis Tiegler round out the HHS boys roster. On the girls side, things will certainly be unusual this season for the Blue Ponies, as they only have three players on the roster to start the season. That isn't enough for a scoring team, and the Ponies are the defending Central A champions. However, graduation hit the HHS golf team hard as four-year standouts Stacey Sheppard and Haley McLain are gone from the team, as is veteran Danika Patterson. Back for the Ponies is senior Tabitha Beck, a player who has been on the varsity team for three years, and one who has seen and done it all in high school golf so far. "Tabitha is hitting the ball well so far," Jensen said. "Again, like with our boys, it's just about more course time right now." Joining beck on the girls team is junior Coutney Kinholt and sophomore Rebekka Martin. The pair lack golf experience, but Jensen sees great potential in both. As for the season-opening 36-hole Great Falls Invitational, the HHS golfers will play two tough courses to start their year. On Monday, the tournament will get under way at Meadowlark Country Club, and Tuesday, it will conclude with 18 holes at Eagle Falls Golf Course. The 2008 HHS season also includes several events in Havre, including a pair of invitationals. Prairie Farms Golf Course will play host to a tournament in Sept. 11 and Beaver Creek Golf Course is the site for the Havre Invitational on Sept. 13. The Central A Divisional tournament will also be held in Havre at Prairie Farms, and things wind down for HHS with the Class A state tournament in Polson Oct. 10-11.