Libby’s Johnston Notches Another Record

Ryggs Johnston captures Class A golf crown; Glacier's A.J. Grande lands third at AA tournament

By Dillon Tabish
Libby's Ryggs Johnston watches a shot at Meadow Lake Golf Course in Columbia Falls on Aug. 24, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The transition from spring to fall was just as smooth and dominant as usual for Ryggs Johnston.

The junior phenom at Libby High School, a former two-time state champ in the Class B ranks, conquered the Class A title in record-breaking fashion.

Playing at the Sidney Country Club last weekend, Johnston shot 4-under 68 and 6-under 66 to win the Class A state championship by 12 strokes. His 36-hole tally of 134 broke the previous Class A record of 137 set by Whitefish’s Sam Krause in 2006.

Johnston is playing in Class A after Libby transitioned from Class B this fall. Class A and Class AA play golf in fall while Class B plays in spring.

Johnston, one of the top junior golfers in the nation and an Arizona State University commit, departed Class B as the two-time state champ and the all-class state record holder after he shot 61-67 — 128 last spring at Marias Valley Golf Club in Shelby.

Polson’s Carson McDaniel placed third at the Class A tournament, carding 75-77—152. Teammates Matt Hobbs tied for eighth, 79-82— 161 and Trey Kelley tied for 15th, 83-83—166. Hogan Kelley shot 96-88—184 and Colby Devlin shot 106-97—203, and the Polson boys placed second as a team with 663 points. Laurel won with 654.

Whitefish’s Brendan Buls shot 93-77—170; Cameron Kahle shot 91-90-181; Andrew Brozek shot 99-82-181; Grant Kahle shot 95-101-196; and Jamie Schwartz carded 107-90-197.

Libby’s Sebo Sanders shot 91-114-205 and Andrew Freese finished 114-115-229.

Columbia Falls’ Logan Lybbert shot 85-92-177; Tyler Langton carded 92-88-180; and LJ Panasuk shot 96-90-186.

On the girls side, Whitefish’s Megan Archibald placed 10th, 101-93—194, and Ella Shaw was 11th, 99-97—196. Gracie Young tied for 13th, 94-106—200, and the Whitefish girls placed third as a team with 815 points. Sidney won with 722 and Lewistown was second, 773.

Whitefish’s varsity team was rounded out by Kendall Reed, 116-109—225, and Annie Nixon, 124-120—244.

Polson’s Cali Cannon shot 104-102—206; Berkley Ellis carded 116-101—217; Esme Yayarbrough shot 110-109—219; and Amanda Farley shot 112-112—224.

Libby’s Sammee Bradeen shot 102-104—206; Khalyn Hagerness carded 113-110—223; Allie Snyder shot 120-120—240; Sydney Croucher shot 121-123—244; and Emily Carvey carded 160-145—305.

Glacier senior AJ Grande tees off on the 18th hole at Buffalo Hill Golf Club during the Class AA golf state championships on Sept. 27, 2017. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

            Glacier’s Grande Places Third at AA Tournament

Glacier High School senior A.J. Grande capitalized on his home-course advantage and placed third at the Class AA state golf tournament at Buffalo Hill.

Grande shot 69-79—148 on Sept. 27 and tied for third with Rylan Periman of Great Falls, 71-77—148.

“The home course advantage was crazy, especially the first day,” Grande said. “It was a short four years but I can’t finish any better. I’m so happy with what I did.”

Billings West’s Joey Moore broke his own Class AA state record after shooting a six-under 66 on the second day of the tournament and finishing with a 67-66—133. He nearly aced the par 4, 18th hole and settled for an eagle that nabbed the record by one stroke. He set the previous record of 134 a year ago.

Great Falls C.M. Russell won the boys team title.

Flathead’s Sam Elliott shot 79-83—162 and Glacier’s Brayden Aurich shot 78-84—162. Flathead Ezra Epperly carded 90-85—175, Keadan Morisaki shot 92-96—188, Spencer Christy shot 92-100—192 and Ryan Thomsen carded 104-107—211.

Glacier’s state tourney team was rounded out by Caden Willis, 99-98—188; Ethan Purdy, 98-101— 199, and Hunter Watterud, 103-104—207.

On the girls side, Flathead’s Marcella Mercer was all-state after placing ninth, carding 98-92—192. Teammates Cassidy Lavin shot 56-55—111; Maisie Hanson carded 67-59—126; and Sheridan Stroop carded 74-61—135.

Glacier’s Katie Trunkle carded 101-99—200; Hailey Iverson shot 111-101—212; Hannah Iverson shot 132-125—257; Avery Anderson shot 115-112—227 and Reide Barkus shot 136-133—269.

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