Bigfork High School has only two girls on its varsity golf team. And one of them might win the state championship.
Head coach Steve Hullett believes sophomore Sara Keenan has what it takes to claim the Class B individual title. Throughout the year, Keenan has consistently finished atop the tournament leaderboards, including a first-place finish at the Thompson Falls Invitational April 24. Keenan shot an 87 that round.
The other girl on the team, freshman Aly Losleben, has steadily improved this spring, Hullett said. He believes Losleben could do well at the divisional tournament, which is scheduled for May 10 at Canyon River Golf Course in Missoula.
Keenan is among the favorites to win at both divisionals and state. The Class B girls state tournament is scheduled for May 18-19 at Eagle Rock Golf Course in Billings.
“She has a great overall game,” Hullett said. “It’s just a matter of confidence, believing that she’s capable of doing really well. She’s close to taking that next step.”
The boys have nine golfers, including two juniors who could challenge at the Class B state tournament, Hullett said. Steven Schuster and Kyle Parker have the potential to be top-10 finishers at state, Hullett said.
Parker has routinely finished in the top four at invitational tournaments this season, and Schuster is generally right near the top as well. Led by these two juniors, Hullett believes the boys team can be a contender at state.
The Class B boys state tournament is scheduled for May 18-19 at Pryor Creek Golf Course in Huntley.
“The boys, if they play to their potential, can end up in the top three at state,” Hullett said.
Hullett is in his 26th year as head varsity golf coach at Bigfork High School. He is pleased to again have a spring golf season. Bigfork transferred from Class A to B for athletics this year – Classes B and C golf in the spring, while AA and A golf in the fall.
While spring weather in Montana can be volatile, it doesn’t tend to bring frigid snow flurries like fall does, Hullett said. Over the past couple of years, Class AA and A have struggled with tournament postponements due to weather late in the season.
Hullett said this spring the golf courses are shaping up nicely and are providing consistent access.
“It’s great,” Hullett said of the spring season. “The course is more available and I can get the kids out playing any part of the course during practices.”
He added: “It’s just a better overall situation.”
Bigfork has two tournaments left before divisionals. On May 4, the boys and girls both play in a Seeley Lake invitational. Two days later on May 6, they play in an invitational in St. Regis.
Several players transferred to other sports this spring, giving Hullett a lower turnout than he’s accustomed to, particularly with only two girls on the team. A school must have at least four golfers to qualify for team scores at tournaments.
Despite the low turnout, Hullett is pleased with the improvement he has seen in both his boys and girls. And with so many underclassmen, the outlook for next year is encouraging.
“They’re improving and that’s all you can ask for,” Hullett said. “They still haven’t lived up to their potential yet, but they’re improving.”
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