Verge brothers top boys’ field, Butte’s Prigge third
By Bill Foley
GREGSON — On a day when the long holes and slick greens at Fairmont Hot Springs had some of the best high school golfers in the state talking to themselves, Kodie Hoagland was right at home.
The Butte High senior shot a 6-over par 78 for the second straight day Friday to win the Fairmont Invitational, which was hosted by the Bulldogs.
Hoagland beat second-place golfer Bella Johnson of Billings West by six shots. Johnson, who trailed by one shot after a 79 on Thursday, shot an 83. Hoagland was the only girl to shoot in the 70s on a day that was perfect other than a little bit of smoke.
Gallatin’s Addiley Lloyd placed third at 166, and West’s Kadence Fisher placed fourth at 168. Senior’s Kenzie Walsh and Bozeman’s Sara Priebe followed at 169 and 170.
Hoagland smiled when asked about the difficulty of the course, which was extremely high if you asked the rest of the field.
“It’s tough if you don’t play good,” Hoagland said. “If you’re playing good, it’s not too bad.”
While she only plays at Fairmont during high school tournaments, the course has grown quite comfortable for Hoagland. That is where she won the Western AA Divisional title last September.
After following a 42 with a 36 on the back nine Thursday, Hoagland hit 40-38 to finish off the victory Friday. She is now 4 for 4 in finishing in the top five this season. That includes a second-place finish at the Missoula Invitational, a tournament in which Hoagland was the low Class AA girl.
“It’s getting there,” Hoagland said of her overall golf game. “I’d like it to be a little better, but it’s getting there.”
Hoagland is a three-sport athlete at Butte High. She also excels in basketball and softball, a pair of sports the eat into her golf in the summer. So, it takes a little longer for her to get into her golf groove.
That appears to be happening as we move into crunch time of the season. Butte High will play at the Bozeman Invitational next Thursday and Friday before heading to Missoula for the divisional tournament the following week.
“I play a couple of travel tournaments in the summer,” Hoagland said. “It takes a little while into the season to get my swing.”
Winning a tournament that includes players from Bozeman, Billings and Great Falls is definitely a boost for Hoagland, who is looking to finish as an All-State player four straight years.
“I think so,” she said when asked if the talented field helps her game. “I like the competition because I think it pushes me a little bit harder.”
West won the team total with a 689 total. Senior placed second at 721, and Bozeman placed third. Butte High finished sixth at 883.
Dylan Bartoletti, (225), Kendyllen Lean (247) and Taylor Sullivan (255) also played varsity for the Bulldogs.
On the boys’ side, Gallatin High twins Justus and Jordan Verge once again lead the way. Justus followed a 69 with a 71 for a 4-under-par 140 and medalist honors. He beat his brother, who also shot a 71 Friday, by three shots.
Butte High junior Jack Prigge had another impressive day, carding a 1-under-par 71. That gave him second place with a 1-over 145 total. Great Falls Russel’s Eli Groshelle and Billings Senior’s Cade Wagner tied for fourth at 151.
Gallatin followed a 300 with a final-round 295 to easily win the team title at 595. Senior took second at 627, and Skyview placed third at 635. Butte High took fifth at 671, one shot behind Bozeman.
Freshman Brenner Booth followed an 81 with an 83 for a 164 for Butte High. Senior Joseph Lyons improved two shots for an 89 and a 180 total, and freshman Kade Corcoran dropped two for a 90 and a 182.
Sam Henderson dropped seven shots for 105 for Butte Central. Teammate Nick Lester dropped 16 shots for a 122.