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Whitefish boys narrowly miss team medalist honors at two tournaments

by JULIE ENGLER
Whitefish Pilot | September 7, 2022 1:00 AM

Last week the Whitefish golf teams competed in a two-day tournament and later in the week at a home triangular invite where the boys took second at both.

The Corvallis Invitational was held at the Missoula Country Club and at the Double Arrow in Seeley Lake last week and Coach Tait Rocksund was happy with the play from both the boys and girls teams.

“Two-day events really help prepare golfers for state,” Rocksund said. “I am very pleased with our performance on both the girls and boys sides at the Corvallis Invite.”

The Polson boys team won the event with a two-day total of 615, just edging out the Whitefish boys team by three strokes. Hamilton scored 667 for third place and the host team, Corvallis, sewed up fourth place with 698.

“Polson had us by 12 after day one, shooting a red hot 286,” Rocksund said. “That is only two over par. We let a few shots get away from us, shooting a day one score of 298.”

Coach said the boys were motivated to give Polson a run on day two and were almost successful, beating Polson by nine strokes but that wasn’t enough to close the gap as the Pirates edged the Bulldogs by three.

“I believe this reinforces the concept that it will be close at state and it will come down to the golf course, how that sets up for the strengths for each team and ultimately how we perform on day two at state,” Rocksund said. “We had a great experience at the Corvallis Invite, but walked away hungry to play better against top competition like Polson.”

Individually, Billy Smith took top honors after finishing in a tie with Polson’s Carson Hupka, each scoring 143. A three-hole playoff was required to determine an individual champion.

“This was exciting — Billy made a two on hole 11, a par three, to edge out Hupka,” Rocksund recalled. “I expect those two will continue to battle for top spots as the season progresses.”

Whitefish’s Johnny Nix finished in third place with a score of 152 and Corvallis’ Brady Powell and Polson’s Hunter Emerson tied for fourth place with 155.

The girls team totals for the two days saw Polson on top with 749 and Hamilton in second place with 864. The Whitefish girls did field enough golfers for a team score.

Polson teammates Ashley Maki and Clare Konen secured first and second place with scores of 166 and 183. Brooklyn Brown from Hamilton finished in third place with 191. For Whitefish, Stella Jaffe placed fifth with a score of 196 and Leia Brennan had a 225, while freshman Ava Zignego shot 247.

“Stella Jaffe led our girls team, taking fifth against very competitive golfers from Hamilton and Polson,” Rocksund said. “Stella's ball striking is very reliable, which is why she has been our most consistent golfer on the girls side.”

The coach added that Brennan’s chipping and putting has improved significantly from the start of the season and she will be competitive to qualify for state if she keeps on this trajectory.

On Thursday, the Whitefish Triangular was held at the Whitefish Lake Golf Club and the teams from Glacier swept the event.

It was the third tourney of the week for the Bulldog players and Coach Rocksund says they ran out of gas.

“We didn't have our best stuff, but I believe the physical test of playing this much golf in a week will benefit us greatly once we get to state,” Rocksund said.

On the girls side, Glacier won with 397 and Flathead scored 434 for second place.

Chloe Tanner from Glacier took top honors with a score of 82, Whitefish’s Jaffe took second place with a 96 and Flathead’s McKinlie Murer finished in third with a 97.

“Stella Jaffe put together a solid round given how much travel and heat our team has endured this week,” said Rocksund.

The boys’ team from Glacier won with 304. The Whitefish boys took second place by scoring 313 and the Flathead boys came in third with 335.

Individual results saw Glacier’s Trevor Cunningham win with a score of 69 while his teammate Tyler Avery took second with 71. Bulldog Johnny Nix finished in third place with 76; Matthew Peschel from Whitefish was fifth with 77.

Rocksund noted that Glacier’s Cunningham played an impressive, two-under round to take the individual title at the Whitefish Triangular.

“He will be a great story for golf in the Flathead Valley and I anticipate he will be competitive at the double AA level this year for an individual state title, which is very impressive for a freshman,” Rocksund concluded.

The Bulldog golfers are scheduled to play in the Libby Invite on Friday and the Polson Invite on Monday, Sept. 12.

Corvallis Invite Results

Boys Team Scores: Polson 615, Whitefish 618, Hamilton 667, Corvallis 698.

Boys Individual - Billy Smith, Whitefish 143. Carson Hupka, Polson 143. Johnny Nix, Whitefish 152. Brady Powell, Corvallis 155. Hunter Emerson, Polson 155. Ellis Torrin, POlson 159. Jack Heath, Hamilton 160. Tate Jessop, Corvallis 162. Tag Waller, Whitefish 162. Riley Brown, Whitefish 164. Espn Fisher, Polson 165. Christian Lund, Polson 165. Carson Richie, Hamilton 166. Matthew Peschel, Whitefish 167. Cole Dickemore Hamilton, 170. Max Cianflone, Hamilton 177. Josh Bender, Hamilton 179. Tag Jessop, Corvallis 182. Aden Fisher, Corvallis 199. Shane Lachenauer, Corvallis 204.

Girls Team Scores: Polson 749, Hamilton 864.

Girls Individual - Ashley Maki, Polson 166. Clare Konen Polson 183. Brooklyn Brown, Hamilton 191. Kila Cannon, Polson 193. Stella Jaffe, Whitefish 196. Kylee Seifert, Polson 207. Emma Hollingsworth, Hamilton 215. Fem Steward, Hamilton 224. Leia Brennan, Whitefish 225. Bryn Cianflone, Hamilton 234. Ava Leopold, Corvallis 241. Ava Zignego, Whitefish 247. Rhain Hollingsworth, Hamilton 299.

Whitefish Triangular Results

Boys Team Scores - Glacier 304, Whitefish 313, Flathead 335

Boys Individual - Trevor Cunningham, Glacier 69. Tyler Avery, Glacier 71. Johnny Nix, Whitefish 76. Trey Engellent, Glacier 77. Mathew Peschel, Whitefish 77. Billy Smith, Whitefish 78. Nicklaus Dubois, Flathead 78. Dylan Morris, Flathead 81. Tag Walker, Whitefish 82. Tyler Williams, Flathead 83. Riley Brown, Whitefish 83. Tanyon Murray, Glacier 87. Sully Claridge, Glacier 90. Noah Hannah, Flathead 93. Korbin Eaton, Flathead 100

Girls Team Scores - Glacier 397, Flathead 434

Girls Individual - Chloe Tanner, Glacier 82. Stella Jaffe, Whitefish 96. McKinlie Murer, Flathead 97. Kenna Sandler, Glacier 99. Braelyn Ryan, Glacier 104. Ladahlia Hook, Flathead 106. Becca Vosen, Flathead 109. Sophia LeDuc, Glacier 112. Leia Brennan, Whitefish 114. Vaida Cole, Glacier 118. Payzlee Boyce, Flathead 122. Siarah Holden, Flathead 127. Ava Zignego 139.

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