State A Golf: Billy Smith, Whitefish Boys Lead

Defending champion Cameron Kahle looks to double his title count

By 406mtsports.com

After the first day of the State A golf tournament on  Thursday, defending champion Carson Kahle of Whitefish and Laurel’s Carson Hackmann once again found themselves tied for the lead in the individual medal tournament. But neither was atop the leaderboard after Round 1.

Bulldog golfer Billy Smith shot a 70 to grab the lead against both Kahle and Hackmann, who settled into a second-place tie at 72 to help Whitefish grab the team lead with a 305. Billings Central’s Nick Pasquarello (77), who transferred from defending champion Laurel this season, and teammate Reese Jensen (78) are in fourth and fifth place.

The Laurel boys are the three-time defending champions but, unlike its counterparts on the girls team, extending the streak will be a challenge. Billings Central, last year’s runnerup, grabbed second place with a 324 to take a four-stroke advantage over the Locomotives (328) to put Laurel 23 strokes back.

His team may be in the hunt for a title, but Rams coach Mark Hutchinson said it didn’t come easy.

“It was tough out there today,” Hutchinson said. “This is one of those courses where a practice round really would have mattered. Not having one was pretty disappointing.”

The final round of the State A tournament, set to begin at 11 a.m. Friday, is sure to be filled with some tight finishes. But Hutchinson, like Greenwood, said the fact that a state tournament is even taking place is a victory in and of itself.

“At the end of the day, with all the rules that we may or may not like, we’re just really happy to be here,” he said. “It gives us a sense of normalcy. The fact we can come out here and play golf and compete, it’s huge for these kids.”

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