Knowing when to lay up and when to go for the green may be the difference between a drive home and a trip to Bigfork in two weeks for the Scotties.
Malta’s course is rife with hazards that force golfers to choose between laying up or shooting for the perfect shot and the low score. But if they don’t make it, snowmen, or worse, may be all too prevalent on a scorecard.
Course management has been the Achilles heel of the Scottie golfers so far this season, including the past weekend in Harlem on Friday and Malta on Saturday.
“The kids play well . . . but they still had some issues with some course management and that probably cost us the win [in Harlem],” said Head Coach Dave Riggin.
The boys combined to shoot a 359, five strokes short of Chinook, who took first. Boyd Sinclair led the way with an 86 and third-place individual finish. He was followed by Jared Smith in fifth with an 87, Braden Barstad’s ninth-place 91, Luke Gunderson’s 95 and Wyatt Holzworth’s 97. The top four scores counted for the team score.
The girls did not have a full team, but Makkell Baillargeon shot a 113 for fourth place and Tamrah Pewitt shot a 136 to take ninth. Baillargeon’s 113 was a 17-stroke improvement from her previous round in Harlem, where she shot 130 on April 20, and her season best.
The boys showed improvement their second time around, as well. Their team score fell from 370 to 357. Sinclair was nine strokes better, Barstad was three, Smith was six and Holzworth was an incredible 12 strokes improved this time around.
The Scotties would like the same type of improvement their second and third time through Malta, especially at divisionals on Saturday, after playing the course for the first time this season on May 4. Glasgow again finished behind Chinook, this time by 12 strokes, 350-362.
Smith led the boys this time around, shooting a season-low 84. Barstad and Holzworth both came into the clubhouse with 89s. Gunderson struggled, shooting a season-high 103. Sinclair injured his hand midway through the round and could not finish. He shot a 48 on the front nine. He is expected to be ready for the divisional tournament.
For the girls, Baillargeon again was the low score, beating Pewitt by three strokes, 126-123.
Baillargeon and Pewitt will be joined by Taylor Nixdorf for divisionals and the Malta practice round on Friday. Nixdorf has not played since April 19.
Riggin expects that a sub-110 round would earn the Scottie girls a trip to state individually.
For the boys, “I think we’ve got to shoot 350 as a team,” said Riggin. “We’ll see Friday. By the end of Friday, we’ll know what we got to do for Saturday.”
All 12 schools in the Northern B are expected to be in Malta on Friday for a practice round before the divisional tournament on Saturday.
“I still think we have a good shot if they perform well. It’s tough. You only get one chance,” said Riggin.