Three of the top spots went to first-time winners at the 2023 Class B state golf tournament at Marias Valley Golf Course Wednesday.
Siblings Colin and Keni Wade clinched the individual boys and girls titles respectively as the only two golfers representing Bigfork at the tournament. Colin Wade, a junior, finished with a 149 to top the boys standings ahead of Columbus’ Landon Olson (152) and Huntley Project’s Rowdy Hudson (154).
Keni Wade won the girls tournament with a 161 after shooting rounds of 80 and 81 to top Jefferson’s Celi Chapman (164) and Thompson Falls’ Ellie Baxter (166).
“It’s pretty cool to do it as siblings the same year and in our last year of (Class) B,” Keni Wade explained after.
In the team standings, the Anaconda boys clinched their first golf title in school history by just three strokes over Jefferson and thirty four ahead of third-place Columbus.
“I’m really proud of how they came through,” said coach Mark Torney.
The Shelby girls finished three shots ahead of runner-up Jefferson and 28 in front of third-place Malta. It’s the Coyotes sixth title, but their first since 2005. Their joyous celebration on the 17th green almost included a dip in the cold and fast-running Marias River alongside the course.
Bigfork siblings top standings
Bigfork coach Kyle Parker says it’s tradition that after every tournament, Colin and Keni Wade take a picture together both holding up number ones, even if they don’t win.
“It’ll be a good one this week,” Parker said after with a laugh after both siblings came away with state titles.
Both held two-stroke leads after the first round, but still had to hold off challengers over the second to make it official.
“To have big leads like that going into the second day is really hard, especially when both of them lost their leads early and came back and battled,” Parker said.
“I was really nervous when I got out here (this morning) and then I dropped a few balls on the green and hit some putts and then I was fine from there,” Colin Wade said.
He finished five over par and credited consistency this season with helping him make the jump from runner-up as a sophomore to state champion as a junior.
“It feels good to get over the hump,” he said. “I knew I could do it and it’s good to see the results.”
Keni Wade said she struggled on the first nine holes of the tournament’s final day and was behind by one at the turn to the defending champion Chapman, but the Bigfork sophomore decided to start fresh mentally and made up ground over the final nine holes. And while she felt good about how she had done, she didn’t know until checking scores after where she actually finished.
She was greeted by a surprise waiting for her as she came off the green since the boys had finished 29 minutes before the final girls group concluded their round in front of the clubhouse.
“When I walked over to my bag, (Colin) greeted me with a high-five and said that he won too,” Keni Wade said.
They’ll have a quick turnaround as Bigfork is scheduled to move up to Class A next year which means a fall golf season for which they have high hopes.
“It was a good way to end it and then feel confident in going to A, playing with new people and stuff,” Keni Wade said. “It will be a good change for me and my game.”
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