Sundheim sits in second; Witham aces No. 14
Walking around the golf course for 9 hours was apparently not too much for Sean Ramsbacher.
The Montana Tech senior got better as the day went on, following a 73 with a 3-under-par 67 to take the lead at the Montana Tech Invitational at the Butte Country Club. (Men’s leaderboard; Women’s leaderboard)
Ramsbacher, who shot 34-33 on his second trip around the old course, holds a one-shot lead over Rocky Mountain College’s Tristan Hanson. Rocky’s Mitch Thiessen, who shot a second-round 68, is third at 142.
Haydn Driver of Rocky is fourth at 143, and Oredigger Jace Rhodes is tied with Rocky’s Parker Jones for fifth at 146.
As a team, Montana Tech shot 291 each round and sits in second place at 582. The Orediggers are four shots behind Rocky, which shot 290 and 288 for a 578 total. Carroll College is third at 604, followed by Dickinson State at 6-8, the University of Providence at 629 and MSU-Northern at 688.
“That’s incredibly close,” Tech coach Sean Ryan said. “I thought the deficit was going to be a lot more, but we closed pretty solid.”
Ryan praised his team for withstanding the long day. Last year, all Frontier tournaments were limited to 18 holes.
“We know we’re good enough to win this event,” Ryan said. “We want to light V and just play the game of golf we know we can play. We can do it. It’s our home course. There’s nothing better than winning at home.”
Tech senior Isaiah Weldon shot 71-76 for a 147 total. He is tied with Carroll’s Samuel Berry for seventh place and is one shot ahead of teammate Nick Pasquarello. Tech’s Jett Braley is at 140, teammate Matt Hobbs is at 151, and Gabe Witham is at 161.
Witham had the shot of the day, and probably the tournament. He used a 50-degree wedge to ace the 130-yard hole No. 14 on the first round. Witham’s ball one hopped into the cup for his first career ace.
Ryan pointed out that it was the sophomore’s first career college round, too. He sat out all of last season because of COVID.
“It was the right place at the right time for Gabe,” Ryan said. “It was good for him because it got him back on track.”
On the women’s side, Oredigger freshman Cierra Sundheim heads into Tuesday’s final round three shots out of the lead at 75. Rocky’s Claire Wright leads the way with a 75.
Rocky’s Hailey Derrickson is third at 79, and Tech freshman Franchi Ceartin is tied with Carroll’s Katie Fagg for fourth place at 80.
The Battlin’ Bears lead the women’s standings at 318. Carroll is third at 333, two shots better than the third-place Orediggers. Dickinson State is fourth at 354.
Ryan said his women’s team is in striking distance.
“That’s a lot,” the coach said of the 15-stroke deficit, “but we also didn’t play our best today.”
Sami Benson, another Tech freshman, shot an 88 to match teammate Relay Williams at 88. Emily Kelly hit a 90, while Lauren Williams carded a 91 and Kennedy Lean shot a 92. Lauren Williams and Lean are freshman.
Both the men and women play 18 holes to close the tournament on Tuesday.