Bulldog, Maroon golfers hit the course Monday

Bulldog, Maroon golfers hit the course Monday

By Bill Foley

The Butte High and Butte Central golf teams will officially open the 2016-17 high school sports season with tournaments in Butte and Great Falls on Monday.

Butte Central will host a 13-team tournament at the Highland View Golf Course at 9 a.m., while Butte High will open the two-day Great Falls Invitational. The Bulldogs will begin play at 1 p.m. Monday at the Meadow Lark Country Club. Tuesday’s round begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Eagle Falls Golf Course.

Butte High enters the season with a total of seven players with state tournament experience and 10 varsity players coming off the South West Montana Junior Golf Tour.

“It’s the first time in the history of the tour that all of our varsity lineup has competed,” said Butte High golf coach Erik Mankins.

Three of those golfers — seniors Houston Green and Lexi Williams and freshman Grace Luomo — won their division titles in the 2016 SWMJGT.

Green, who ended the tour with a remarkable run that included a 5-under-par 67 at Meadowlark, is No. 1 on the boys’ side. Will Hoagland, who didn’t play Legion baseball this summer because of a shoulder injury, is No. 2.

Mankins said Hoagland, a key player in Butte High’s strong 2015 season, has benefited from more time on the course.

Junior Isaiah Weldon, who played at State the last two seasons, is the No. 3 player.

Senior Marcus Lynch, a junior varsity veteran, will play No. 4, while promising freshman Kaven Noctor slides into the No. 5 spot on a team that was hit hard by the loss of Trey Hoagland, who earned a golf scholarship at Montana Tech.

“I think we’ll be a pretty competitive team,” Mankins said of his boys.

The Butte High girls return four players from last year’s state tournament team, led by Williams, a four-year varsity player.

Junior Sadie Starcevich is No. 2, followed junior Kelliann Neary at No. 3, senior Katelyn Alley at No. 4 and Luoma at No. 5.

The Bulldogs, who will also send junior varsity teams to the BC Invitational on Monday, will play just six tournaments before the State meet, which is Sept. 29-30 in Billings.

“We’re a month and a half and that’s it,” Mankins said. “It’s like a gunfight.”

Butte High’s first home meet is Sept. 1-2 at Fairmont Hot Springs.

The Maroons enter the season with a mixture of youth and experience as they host a tournament that will also include Belgrade, Livingston, Dillon, Corvallis, Hamilton, Stevensville, Columbia Falls, Browning, Frenchtown, Polson and Bozeman JV.

Super sophomore Tricia Joyce won’t be playing in Monday’s tournament because she doesn’t have enough team practices to compete.

That isn’t because Joyce, last year’s second-place finisher at state, was slacking, however. She’s been busy representing Montana at the Junior America’s Cup in California and last week’s Montana-Alberta Jr. Ryder Cup in Whitefish.

Joyce qualified for those prestigious events by winning her 14-15 age group at the Montana State Junior Championships in Billings in June.

With Joyce out of the lineup, the lone BC girl playing Monday will be newcomer Megan Michelotti, a junior who joins the golf team after playing volleyball in previous seasons.

Junior Tyge Yelenich leads the BC boys into action. The two-time State competitor finished just out of All-State honors at last year’s State tournament.

Senior Bryan Arnold, junior Cameron Johnson, freshman Gator Yelenich and sophomore Danny McCloskey round out the lineup for the BC boys.

“We played the Country Club for tryouts and we had some good scores,” said BC coach Zack Bair. “They played all summer.”

The Maroons will play at the Western A Divisional Sept. 24 in Hamilton. The State tournament is a week later at the Hamilton Golf Club.

Butte High schedule

BC schedule

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