(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – The Montana State University Billings men's golf program will kick off their spring season at the Bay Area Invitational hosted by the Academy of Art University at The Clubs at Ruby Hills this coming week. The tournament is the first step of a quest to reach the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships looming in April.
All of MSUB’s focus will be ion the GNAC championships and every event leading up to it will be gaining experience to hopefully peak at the end of April. First up is the 7,400 yard Ruby Hill golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. The sprawling and picturesque course is located in the Livermore Valley and was the first course designed by Nicklaus in Northern California.
“This course is a Nicklaus design which always means it is going to be pretty long and you are going to have to put the ball in position off the tee in order to attack the hole locations,” said head Coach Jeff Allen. “The greens are complex, large and technical so it really challenges your total game.”
As a team this past fall, MSUB played 12 rounds of golf and held an average of 299.8 strokes combined. Playing in the University of Concordia Invitational, MSUB took eighth as a team for their best finish of the fall season. Junior Caleb Trost was the top finisher for MSUB on the par-71, 6,823-yard course, as he tied for 8th place with a three-round total of 214 (73-70-71). Trost finished the fall with a 73.6 average and played all 12 rounds for MSUB.
“The guys are excited to get back into action,” continued Allen. “They have put in a lot of work this off-season and I am very optimistic that we will see success right away. We have a very talented group pf players who are hardworking, unselfish and great teammates. I am most excited about our depth and we will have a lot of lineup options based on who is playing the best each week. That internal competition is exactly what we need to help achieve our goals.”
Senior Garrett Woodin averaged 74.2 and also played in all 12 rounds. His best tournament of the fall was at the Sierra Central Wildcat Classic as he turned in a top 10 West Region finish score card of 217. His 217 three round total (76, 71, 70) resulted in being tied for eighth place.
Riley Lawrence was the number three golfer of the fall for MSUB as he finished with a 75.6 average. His best tournament was a three round score of 229 at the Concordia Invite as well.
Payton Stott was the final ‘Jacket to pay in all 12 rounds and ended the fall with a 77.3 average. He shot a low round of 70 and finished tied for 28th in the Saint Martin’s University Invitational.
Logan Martin played in three round and had an average of 77.7. Paul O’Neil played in six rounds and finished the fall with a 78.2 average. Finally Riley Kaercher played in three rounds and finished with an 82.7 stroke average.
The highlight of the fall was MSUB retaking the Mike Grob cup from arch rival Rocky Mountain College.
Entering the final day of the event the Yellowjacket men led the Battlin Bears 6.5-3.5. The first day of the event, the teams participated in an alternate shot completion and a best ball competition. MSUB won 3 of the 5 alternate shot matches at Lake Hills Golf Course and 3 of 5 best ball matchups played at the Yellowstone Country Club on Saturday.
MSUB never looked back and won 6 of 10 individual matchups on Rocky's home course Peter Yegen Saturday to claim the cup title 12.5 to 7.5. The clinching point was won by Stott, but there were two other matches still out and MSUB won both. On Saturday, the 'Jackets received a big boost from O'Neil and Cash Golden as they went 2-0 on the day. Martin was the only player that was 3-0 on the weekend and was named Most Valuable Player.
The Yellowjackets' home events and practice facility is Lake Hills Golf Club in Billings. Live scoring for all tournaments throughout the season will be available through the men's golf schedule page at www.msubsports.com.