ANACONDA — On a day and in conditions that tested a golfer’s willingness to keep going, the Montana women’s golf team toughed it out on Tuesday and won the Battle at Old Works.
“It was as windy and cold as anything we’ve played in. It was really hard,” said coach Kris Nord. “And our girls handled it better than anybody else. That’s why we won the tournament.”
The Grizzlies closed with a 323 on a day that had twice as many scores from the field of 30 in the 90s (six) as in the 70s (three). (Results)
That was enough to get past Montana State, which shot a final-round 329, giving Montana a four-stroke victory and their first tournament title since 2013.
“We got to golf when we were in contention and knowing it really mattered. To have them out there making swings when it really matters is the experience we need,” said Nord. “I would have rather won this under normal conditions, but we’ll take it.”
The day started out fine, but as it got deeper into the morning, winds came up that were strong enough to push balls off the greens.
“If the ball got moving at all on certain greens, it blew you off,” Nord said. “It was interesting and more than challenging. We were probably right on the cusp of calling it.
“The last two hours were really challenging for everybody. You were just trying to find ways to get bogeys or double bogeys instead of pars.”
Butte Central graduate Tricia Joyce started the day in second place and stayed there in the final standings, despite shooting a final-round 83. It was just that kind of day.
“Normally an 83 wouldn’t do it, but in these conditions it did. She hung on really well at the end. Everybody who posted a score hung in there and didn’t do any waving of the flag,” said Nord. “It was right at that moment you could have. It was frustrating golf. But we gutted it out and I’m proud of them for that.”
Montana had its five scoring players all place in the top 10, with Joyce (71-77-83) being followed by Jessica Ponce (79-77-78), who tied for fourth.
Ponce and medalist Kameryn Basye (71-71-77) of Montana State were the only two players in the field to card three scores in the 70s.
“On a day like today, Jessica’s 78 is like shooting a 70 or 69 if you ask me,” said Nord. “She did real well and played some of the toughest holes at the end, which made it more impressive.
“She was a warrior out there in tough conditions.”
Kylie Esh (78-77-80) finished seventh. Allison Sobol (81-78-82) and Meredith Boos (78-76-87) tied for ninth.
Emmy Sundby (81-85-83) was Montana’s top golfer of those playing as individuals. She tied for 17th.
Montana will host the Griz Invitational next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Missoula Country Club.
— Griz Communications