BILLINGS – Carrie Carpenter has all the fuel she needs.
“You know, I try to put it behind me,” she said, “but there are a couple shots where I think back and say, ‘What was I thinking?'”
Carpenter was second after the State AA opening round last year – perfect position to charge. But instead, she stumbled and finished fifth, a disappointing end to an otherwise strong sophomore season at Billings West.
“Just kind of have to put that behind me,” Carpenter shrugged. “Maybe learn from it a little bit.”
So far, so good. Carpenter has won her first two high school tournaments this season and just captured the Yellowstone County Am title over the weekend by 14 shots.
“It was a lot of fun. I loved the people I played with. I mean, Laurel is obviously a great course, so it was just a really fun time,” Carpenter said.
Head coach Marcus Drange has noticed similarities to another West High great – Hayden Flohr, who won a state title as a senior and the Frontier Conference title for Rocky Mountain College back in April.
“I think the fierceness is what I see the most,” Drange said. “(Flohr) had that. She had that spark about her that (Carpenter) definitely has. Coming on with two wins already has been a huge spark for her and a lift for her.”
Drange says Carpenter’s best attribute is that she hates to lose. But she also keeps it in perspective.
“If I played the best I could play and I didn’t win, I’d be fine with that,” Carpenter said. “If somebody played better than I did, I can’t be mad about that. A State AA championship would be nice, but if I don’t get it, I just hope I can go out and play well.”
She always seems to now, when the stakes are highest.