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Blue Pony golfers end on a tough track

Tough, Laurel Golf Club tests Blue Ponies, and the rest of the Class A field


October 7, 2019

Havre Daily News/George Ferguson

Havre High golfers from left, Josh Warp, Caleb Chambliss, Tyrel Kjersem and Jocelyn Staples pose for a photo before the start of Thursday's Class A state tournament in Laurel. The Blue pony foursome finished their 2019 season with 36 holes on the famed Laurel Golf Club course.

If conditions on their home courses at the start of the week were difficult because of a freak September snow storm, things didn't get much easier for four Havre High golfers in Laurel.

Thursday and Friday, four Blue Ponies took part in the 2019 Class A state tournament, held at the Laurel Golf Club. And Havre head coach George Ferguson said that, the famed course in Laurel certainly took its toll on his Blue Ponies.

"Laurel is a very well-known, very difficult course," Ferguson said, "and in my opinion, and I think a lot of other's this weekend, it was playing exceptionally difficult. When you look at the scores all the way around, it was a very stern test of golf, and that's the way it should be for the biggest tournament of the year.

"So, yes, our kids had their share of struggles at state," he continued, "but so did pretty much the entire field. So having said that, I'm really proud of our four players because they did their absolute best. The golf course really took it out on the field this weekend, and our kids did everything they could to fight it, to keep playing, keep trying to post numbers. They never threw in the towel, they kept on battling, and as a coach, that's all I can ask out of them."

The Havre boys were led at state by junior Josh Warp, who posted rounds of 93-95 to finish in 25th place. The winning score for the tournament was Whitefish' Cameron Kahle at 156, who ended up besting Laurel's Carson Hackmann on the third playoff hole Friday night.

"I felt like Josh hit the ball really well," Ferguson said. "I think, like so many others in this tournament, the greens probably gave him the most trouble, but, from tee to green, Josh was right there. He played some very good golf, and he showed a lot of toughness out there. I think this state tournament showed how much Josh improved this season, and it was a great springboard into next year for him. He did a great job."

Junior Caleb Chambliss shot a 205 to place 48th overall, while senior Tyrel Kjersem shot 206 to place 50th.

"I feel for both Caleb and Tyrel," Ferguson said. "They tried to battle, tried to fight off the struggles, but that's just golf. Sometimes, it just doesn't come together no matter how hard you try. But again, I was proud of those guys because they battled to the end. Caleb's second round was 13 strokes better, and Tyrel put some strong stretches of golf together. They never quit. And no matter what the scorecard said, they are both very good golfers, and I was really proud of those guys."

Havre qualified just junior Jocelyn Staples on the girls side. She finished at 264 and in 51st place overall, in what was her second straight trip to state.

"Jocelyn has been the leader of our girls team all year," Ferguson said. "And just like the three boys, she hung in there. The golf course was tough, really tough, but she gave it her all. She was frustrated and disappointed, but what happened at state doesn't change what a really good year she had. She really grew into her own as a golfer this season, and she'll be even better next year."

And that's where Ferguson's attention turned following the conclusion of the state tournament Friday, which saw host Laurel claim both the girls and boys team titles for the second straight season. He turned to thoughts of next year.

"I am very proud of the four kids we took to state," Ferguson said. "They are good golfers and they did a great job. And I had a blast coaching all of our kids this season. It was a really fun season, and we have a lot of strong golfers coming back next year. I think we are building something really good with our program, and while this year was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed coaching all our kids, I'm already excited for next year."

Class A State Golf

In Laurel

Boys team scores: Laurel 341-324-665, Billings Central 335-334-669, Hamilton 339-337-676, Whitefish 351-343-694, Frenchtown 366-374-740, Sidney 377-384-761, Livingston 377-387-764, Columbia Falls 428-397-825.

Girls team scores: Laurel 368-376-744, Whitefish 406-397-803, Corvallis 402-403-805, Sidney 410-398-808, Miles City 435-424-859, Polson 440-425-865, Frenchtown 467-449-916, Lewistown 455-467-922, Ronan 453-473-926, Livingston 529-493-1022.


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