Sports

One Final Round

Former Whitefish High golfer Coral Schulz became the first local woman to win the Earl Hunt tournament in 30 years and is now preparing for her last year at MSU

For the next few weeks, if you’re looking for Coral Schulz, she’ll most likely be at one of two places: in Glacier National Park soaking up as much summer fun as possible or at the golf course preparing for her final season of golf at Montana State University.

Schulz, 21, has dominated the links since high school, first at Helena Capital and later at Whitefish. Now, she is gearing up for her senior year at MSU, and if this summer is any indication, it will be a good one. Earlier this month, she became the first local to win the Earl Hunt Memorial 4th of July Golf Tournament at Whitefish Lake Golf Club since 2006 and the first Flathead Valley woman to win it since 1987, when Christine Newton won it a decade before Schulz was even born.

Schulz had competed in the tournament four times before but never finished higher than fifth. This year, over the course of three rounds, she shot 69-74-74 over 54 holes. Schulz said winning the tournament was one of the highlights of her summer.

“There are a lot of amazing golfers who play in the tournament,” she said. “Being a local and finally winning the tournament was amazing.”

Schulz is also dominating in the classroom. Earlier this month, the Women’s Golf Coaches Association announced that Schulz had made its All-American Scholar Team along with four other Bobcats. In order to qualify, a student athlete must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.50.

As she prepares for her senior year in Bozeman — where she’s majoring in English — Schulz has been hitting the links nearly every day, primarily focusing on her putting. Schulz said her putting proved to be problematic in the spring. Despite her struggles on the green, the MSU girls still put on a memorable performance during the Big Sky Championship at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nevada in April. The Bobcats finished in sixth place — their best showing at the Big Sky tournament since 2015.

“We got it done, together, as a team,” Schulz said.

Last week, MSU announced that the women’s golf team would compete in nine different tournaments this coming year ahead of the Big Sky Golf Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona in April 2020.  This fall will feature four tournaments, kicking off in Anaconda at the Old Works Golf Course on Sept. 16. Head Coach Brittany Basye said the team is excited to be starting its season close to home, adding that it will be particularly special for the incoming seniors.

“We’re super excited about that event,” Basye said. “The golf course is amazing and allows us to play on our home front. Old Works allows us to not have to travel too far. I also think it’s nice with four seniors on the team to be able to acknowledge them at a home event.”

Before Schulz returns to Bozeman, she’s planning to compete in at least once more tournament this summer. Currently, she’s enjoying her summer in Whitefish and working at the golf course, which makes it easy to get a few rounds in before or after work. Schulz said she’s excited about this upcoming season.

“I really want to be a leader for the younger girls on the team this year,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to one more year of college golf. I’m really excited.”

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