The leaves are changing colors, the air is a bit cooler each day and the sun sets earlier and earlier. Those are all signs that pretty soon the golf clubs must be out away.
But for six Havre High golfers, there’s still 36 holes left in the season, and they are the biggest 36 holes of the year.
The Blue Pony boys golf team, along wit
h HHS’s Boston Swensen will compete in the 2012 Class A state golf tournament Friday and Saturday at Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda. Katie Beck also qualified for the state tourney, but unfortunately, will have to miss the event as she was injured in a car accident earlier this week. Beck, who finished seventh at last week’s Central A Divisional in Livingston, will be replaced by a Lewistown player who finished No. 16 last week.
It’s a big weekend for the Blue Pony boys as all five players will be on the course for Havre at a state tournament for the first time in seven years. Havre finished second at last weekend’s Central A meet, after all five HHS players had a solid 18 holes. The Ponies have been led most of the season by senior Ramsey Drew, and he did it again last Saturday, finishing in fifth place overall. Drew will be joined by fellow seniors David Denny and Spencer Ross, while freshmen Jeff Miller and Jerod Boles finished seventh and ninth, respectively at divisionals.
“It’s a nice situation to be in for all of our boys,” Havre head coach McKinsey Rodriguez said. “For our seniors, they get to play at state in what will be their last high school golf tournament. That’s going to be really fun for them. And four our two freshmen, this is a great experience for them, and I want them to go out and gain as much experience as possible because they are going to be very good for years to come.”
It’s hard to say where Havre fails in the team race this weekend at Old Works, a course which is widely known as one of the toughest tests of golf in all of Montana.
Belgrade finished ahead of Havre in the Central A, while teams from Whitefish, Anaconda Hamilton and Polson will likely be the teams to beat on the boys side.
But as good as some teams will be, and there will be some outstanding individual players too, the Ponies have a chance to make some noise this weekend. Drew has been shooting in the 80’s for several straight weeks now, while Miller and Boles have the ability to play very good golf. Together, they’ve been two of the most impactful freshmen golfers Havre High has had in quite some time. Ross and Denny have also been consistent for much of the season, and both of those players have led HHS in one tournament or another.
“I just want them to go out and have fun,” Rodriguez said of his boys team. “I want them to shoot the best scores they can, but I also want them to enjoy the experience. This is a great way for this team to end the year.”
On the girls side, Swensen will be flying solo for the Blue Ponies, and her goal will be to finish inside the Top 15 and earn all-state honors, since Havre won’t be eligible for the team race. But her goal will also be to keep getting better as unlike Havre’s senior boys, she and the rest of the HHS girls team will be back next season.
Swensen has been ultra-consistent this season. She's finished in the Top 10 five times and placed 13th at last week's divisional tournament in Livingston.
On the girls side of things, Whitefish, Anaconda, Laurel and Polson will all bring formidable teams to this weekend’s tournament, as does Central A champion Livingston.
But no matter how good a team or player is, this will be a tough 36 holes for anyone because Old Works is just that, tough. The course (see related story in today’s Havre Daily News) plays long, especially if the wind blows, and it’s unique slag bunkers are all over the place. It also has hills and trees and fast greens, making it a true championship test for every Class A golfer on the course this weekend.
The Top 10 golfers in each individual event will earn Class A All-State honors for the season, while the top three teams on each side will bring home a trophy. The Ponies travel to Anaconda today for a practice round, then play the first round Friday morning at Old Works, and the tourney wraps up with 18 more holes on Saturday.