Brad Grattan of Whitefish pulled off an improbable comeback to win the 67th annual Montana State Senior Tournament.
Grattan entered the final day of the three-round, 54-hole golf tournament seven strokes behind leader Jeff Niesen of Bigfork. He ended Thursday with a four-stroke win after shooting a 2-under 70 at Buffalo Hill Golf Club in Kalispell.
Grattan started his comeback with a 4-under 68 on day two at his home course, Whitefish Lake Golf Club. It was the lowest round at the tournament, and it came after his 5-over 77 at Meadow Lake Golf Course in Columbia Falls left him eight strokes back.
Things didn’t start great in the final round. Grattan bogeyed two of the first four holes, but so did Niesen. He evened the score by the 15th hole, where he carded a par and Niesen had one of his seven bogeys.
Niesen followed with one of his two double bogeys on the 16th and a bogey on the 17th. Grattan carded one of his four birdies on the 17th to take a four-stroke lead into the 18th.
It was a shocking collapse by Niesen, who shot a 9-over 81 after identical scores of 3-under 69 the first two days had given him a seven-stroke lead. He finished at 3-over 219, while Grattan was 1-under 215.
Bill Dunn of Missoula Country Club had an even-par 72 on day three to finish in third place at six strokes back. He was the defending champ and also recently won the 2021 and 2022 Montana State Amateur senior division and the 2021 Mid-Am senior division.
Gene Walsh of Whitefish Lake Golf Club finished fourth at seven strokes back. Dave Stengel of The Ranch Club in Missoula was fifth at 12 strokes back. Ron Ramsbacher of Missoula Country Club tied for sixth at 14 strokes back.
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