SEELEY — The Class C state golf tournament began at Double Arrow Golf Course in Seeley on Tuesday morning.
Both the top girls and boys groups teed off at 10 a.m.
In the girls group, it was a widely separated field by the end of the day with two golfers, Landri Paladichuk of Ennis and defending champion Jillian Frye of Manhattan Christian, on top. Paladichuk finished with an 88 and Frye with a 90. While Paladichuk finished with a two-stroke lead, it was Frye who had the two-stroke lead at the turn.
Both golfers found the bottom of the cup different ways. Frye wasn’t as accurate on fairways but was great chipping around the greens and putting. Paladichuk found the fairways with ease but struggled with putting on most holes.
Both golfers will tee off Wednesday morning with the individual state title on the line.
Manhattan Christian’s girls lead the team race by 14 shots over second-place Chinook after totaling 308 strokes on Tuesday.
In the boys group, it was a wide-open field, as the average scores entering the tournament saw very little separation.
Almost every golfer played true to that narrative, except defending champ Caidin Hill of Manhattan Christian, as he ran away from the field on Tuesday. Hill shot a 36 on the front nine followed by a 38 on the back to round out a 2-over-par 74. Hill now leads the field by nine strokes headed into Wednesday with a chance to become the back-to-back state champion.
Manhattan Christian leads the team race by 14 strokes over Gardiner and Westby-Grenora entering Day 2 after totaling 253 strokes as a team on Tuesday. Park City and Great Falls Central are tied for fourth one shot behind Gardiner and Westby-Grenora.
Hill will play in the final group on Wednesday and will tee off at about 12:50 p.m.