The point of divisional golf tournaments is to get as many kids, or perhaps entire teams through to the state tourney. No matter how it gets done, no matter the scores, if you can get through, that’s all that matters.
The Havre High golf teams accomplished that mission on a sunny, but windy Saturday at Prairie Farms Golf Course. The Blue Ponies got nine of 10 varsity golfers through to the Class A state tournament, with the Havre High girls capturing the Central A title in a dramatic playoff with Livingston. The Pony boys wound up third, which wasn’t enough to get the entire team through to state, but HHS did qualify four of its five boys for this weekend’s meet in Polson.
On the girls side, the Ponies wound up tied at 418 with the Rangers, who had won the last six Central A tournaments. But in the playoff, Havre bested the Rangers 23-28 and thus, the Central A trophy will now reside at HHS for at least the next year. Saturday’s win also meant all five Blue Ponies will get to play in the state tournament, though that would have happened anyway as all five HHS girls finished in the Top 15 Saturday.
Still, to win the divisional title, and reach the state tournament as a team, something the HHS girls haven’t done in some time, was still exciting, and gratifying.
"It has been a really long time since the girls of Havre have won divisionals, so it feels really good to be a part of that team knowing we all made it to state, and getting a trophy in the trophy case,” HHS sophomore Randi Gabrielsen said. “"That is awesome because we all love each other as a team and are all really close. Just knowing we are all going to be there for each other is great.
“I expected the girls to win the divisional tournament,” First-year Havre head coach Brett Gilman said. “Just not in the fashion they did. They had to go into a playoff situation and they pulled it together when it mattered most. And they played really well in the playoff. There was no doubt at all on the playoff holes.”
Gabrielsen paced the Pony girls with a third-place finish Saturday. She fired a round of 97 in difficult conditions, which featured high winds and chilly temperatures in the morning. The sophomore, in her second year of varsity, finished behind only defending Class A state champion Christal Tokash of Livingston, who shot 80, and Browning’s Summer Kennerly, who also shot 97, but earned second via a scorecard tiebreaker.
"I felt pretty good today,” Gabrielsen said. “I had a couple of bad holes towards the end, but at the beginning I felt like I could do well today. I ended up playing well for my team, so that was good. And my drives, I felt like those were going farther than they ever have and that made it where I could follow with good shots."
Havre also got Top 10 finishes from seniors Boston Swensen and Katie Beck. Swensen finished fifth at 102 and Beck seventh at 105. Senior Nikki Gabrielsen shot a 114 to place 11th and Payton Howard shot a 118 to finish in 13th place.
“It’s been a while since the girls won this tournament,” Gilman said. “It’s nice to see Havre’s name back on top again.”
On the boys side, HHS missed out on a trophy by just nine strokes. Lewistown captured the Central A title with a 350, while Belgrade shot 357 and the Ponies 366. Still, individually, Havre stood up to the challenging conditions and got enough players through to be in the team scores this week in Polson.
Sophomore Jeff Miller played outstanding in shooting 86 to finish second and pace the Pony boys in what was a stellar field. Belgrade’s Tyler Ferguson took medalist honors with a great round of 78. Miller tied Lewistown’s Zach Hould at 86, but finished second via a scorecard tiebreaker. Fellow sophomore Jerod Boles also put together a solid back nine on Saturday to shoot 88 and place sixth overall. Meanwhile, the freshmen duo of Kane Gabrielsen and Dustin Haas each shot 96 to finish 14th and 15th, respectively, and earn a trip to state in their first year of golf. Junior Wyatt Lindbloom shot 99, just missing out on the Top 15.
“It’s disappointing they (Pony boys) didn’t get to go to state as a team,” Gilman said. “But Lewistown and Belgrade played really well. I don’t think we played poorly, we played about as well as we have been. But Lewistown and Belgrade played better than they have been. But we still got four boys to state and that was nice to see.”
Now, with the Central A tournament in the rear view, the Blue Ponies will focus on their final 36 holes of 2013. Havre will be in Polson for the Class A state tournament Friday-Saturday at Mission Bay Golf Club.
At Prairie Farms
Team scores: Lewistown 350, Belgrade 357, Havre 366, Livingston 374, Browning 470.
Top 15 Individuals
Havre High sophomore Jeff Miller hits a shot on the Par-5 fifth hole at Prairie Farms Golf Course during Saturday's Central A Divisional Golf Tournament. Miller placed second in the boys meet, and was one of four HHS boys to reach this weekend's Class A state tournament in Polson.
1.Tyler Ferguson, Bel, 78; 2. Jeff Miller, Hav, 86; 3. Zach Hould, Lew, 86; 4. Preston Kynett, Lew, 87; 5. Tyrell Walter Lew, 87; 6. Jerod Boles, Hav, 88; 7. Elijah Baker, Bel, 89; 8. Nick Bragg, Liv, 89; 9. Kyle Myhre, Lew, 90; 10. Trae Kennerly, Bro, 92; 11. Sam Hoffman, Bel, 92; 12. Gunner Bergsing, Liv, 93; 13. Garrett Schweigert, Liv, 94; 14. Dustin Haas, Hav, 96; 15. Kane Gabrielson, Hav, 96.
Team Scores: Havre 418 (won playoff 23-28), Livingston 418, Lewistown 479, Belgrade NS, Browning NS.
Top 15 Individuals
1.Christal Tokash, Liv, 80; 2. Summer Kennerly, Bro, 97; 3. Randi Gabrielsen, Hav, 97; 4. Kaycee Keegan, Liv, 99; 5. Boston Swenson, Hav, 102; 6. Sydney Smith, Lew, 104; 7. Katie Beck, Hav, 105; 8. Cyan Old Chief, Bro, 106; 9. Marlee Thomas, Lew, 109; 10. Michaela Amunrud, Liv, 114; 11. Nikki Gabrielson, Hav, 114; 12. Jessie Hirsch, Bel, 115; 13. Payton Howard, Hav, 118; 14. Sarah Friedrich, Bel 122; 15. Hunter Rose Goet Z, Liv, 125.