MISSOULA — The State B golf tournament teed off in Missoula on Tuesday, giving yet another advantage to the powerful Rams and Breakers. Missoula Loyola individuals and teams have soared to the top of the leaderboard after one of two rounds in their hometown.
Defending boys champion Bucky Crippen looked right at home at the Ranch Club. The Loyola star started hot, nearly holing out for eagle on his approach on the par-4 third hole, and he continued to blister the difficult course, shooting a 7-under-par 65 to take the first-round lead. Crippen finished with a 31 on the back nine. Townsend’s Cody Gravely carded a 1-over 73 to climb to second place, eight shots behind Crippen. Big Timber’s Blake Finn sits in third place after a 74.
Crippen’s outstanding round led the Loyola boys to a comfortable team lead. The Rams totaled 308 strokes, building a 39-shot advantage over second-place Conrad.
The Class B girls teed it up at Canyon River in East Missoula. Loyola’s Katie Fagg is chasing a title after finishing as the runner-up two years in a row. She holds the lead, but a couple challengers are within striking distance.
Fagg carded a 2-over-par 74, staying solid with a 37 on the front and back nines. Fairfield’s Emma Woods and Shelby’s Skyler Martin both shot 77s to remain in the running. Martin played with Fagg on Tuesday. All three will duel in the final round on Wednesday. Choteau’s Katie Bieler ranks fourth after an 81.
The girls team race is still up in the air. Loyola holds a one-shot lead over Shelby, 372-373.
The final round tees off at the Ranch Club and Canyon River Wednesday morning.