SHELBY — University of Providence senior Gina Kowalchuk’s first tournament win of 2017-18 highlighted the second day of the MSU-Northern Invitational.

Kowalchuk entered the day ahead by four strokes on the women’s leaderboard. A hard charge from Rocky Mountain College’s Erin Ellis, who shot a tournament-best 70, was almost enough to catch the UP senior, but Kowalchuk’s steady 73 kept her ahead by one stroke at the end of the tournament.

On the men’s side, Montana Tech’s Sean Benson needed one playoff hole to defeat Rocky Mountain College’s Michael Tait to take home the Montana State-Northern Invite, the first Frontier Conference Tournament of the year.

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In the final round, Benson shot a 73 (+1) to post a 211 (-5) tournament score. Tait forced the playoff by firing a tournament-low 66 (-6).

In the playoff, the Tech junior made par on the 10th hole while Tait bogeyed.

The playoff win is the second season-opening win in a row for Benson, who won the Montana Tech Invitational in a two-hole sudden death playoff over Chris Lien a season ago. Playing well in Shelby is familiar to Benson. He took second as a freshman at the Montana State Northern Invite in 2015.

Sean Benson makes the winning putt in a playoff with Rocky’s Michael Tait. (TOM WYLIE/MTN Sports)

Men’s Team Scores
1 Rocky Mountain College 302 296 281 879
2 Lewis-Clark St. (ID) 294 295 293 882
3 Montana Tech 303 298 292 893
4 Carroll College MT 307 305 304 916
5 Providence – Great Falls 312 310 309 931
6 Montana St.-Northern 377 390 362 1129

Men’s Individual Scores
1 Michael Tait Rocky Mt. 78 67 66 211
Sean Benson MT Tech 70 68 73 211
3 Tucker Keyes LCSC ID 74 70 74 218
4 Brandon Barnes LCSC ID 69 76 76 221
5 Colton Murphy Rocky Mt. 76 76 70 222
6 Ryan Keenan MT Tech 79 72 72 223
Mitchell Thiessen Rocky Mt. 72 78 73 223
Cody Babinecz Providence 70 74 79 223
*Stephen Santora Carroll MT 75 77 71 223
10 Shaun Harpin LCSC ID 75 78 71 224
Hunter Weitze LCSC ID 77 73 74 224
12 *Schaefer Paladichuk Rocky Mt. 77 76 72 225
13 Austin Egan Carroll MT 76 75 75 226
Travis Hansen LCSC ID 76 76 74 226
*Isaiah Ojeda LCSC ID 80 76 70 226
16 *Houston Green MT Tech 73 81 73 227
17 Bryce Samwel Carroll MT 79 77 73 229
Daniel Friez MT Tech 76 80 73 229
HoTae Kim Rocky Mt. 76 79 74 229
20 Jonny Cielak Providence 80 75 75 230
Ben Gardner Carroll MT 73 78 79 230

Women’s Team Scores
1 Rocky Mountain College 325 304 629
2 Lewis-Clark College 340 324 664
3 Carroll College MT 343 343 686
4 Providence – Great Falls 350 337 687
5 Montana Tech 358 341 699

Women’s Individual Scores
1 Gina Kowolchuk Providence 73 73 146
2 Eryn Ellis Rocky Mt 77 70 147
3 Morgan O’Neil Rocky Mt 83 75 158
4 Hayden Flohr Rocky Mt 80 80 160
5 Jenna Jensen MSU Nrthrn 82 80 162
6 Blake Greenup LCSC ID 86 77 163
7 Taryn Campbell MT Tech 81 83 164
8 Anna DeMars Rocky Mt 86 79 165
9 Marissa Louder LCSC ID 81 85 166
10 Jaylin Kenny Carroll MT 84 83 167
Allison Kodinger LCSC ID 88 79 167
12 Kayla Monroe LCSC ID 85 83 168
13 Rachel Miles Carroll MT 86 85 171
14 Amanda Conner Rocky Mt 85 87 172
15 Weslee Nehl Carroll MT 85 88 173
*Emily Aga Rocky Mt 89 84 173
17 *Kaitlyn Fleming Rocky Mt 86 88 174
18 Hailey Ogolin MT Tech 91 84 175
Casey Babinecz Providence 89 86 175
Cailin Spencer Carroll MT 88 87 175

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