BILLINGS — All he could do was pace. Pace and putt — and hydrate.
“I was on the putting green because I didn’t know what else to do," Billings Skyview golfer Tye Boone recalled. "I was just putting with MSUB (Montana State University Billings) kids and drinking a lot of water ... and going to the bathroom like five times.”
That sense of humor helped Boone stay just loose enough waiting to see if he’d reach a sudden death playoff for his first State AA golf championship.
“I’m not going to spend six hours trying to focus all the time because you just can’t do that," he said.
Boone had flown under the radar last week on his home course at Lake Hills. He was comfortably in the clubhouse after a sizzling final round of 4-under par, but he wasn’t playing with the lead group, an intangible that calmed him — eventually.
“My hands were shaking after that first nine (holes) because I kind of knew I was in it," Boone said. "I was more aggressive on the front nine and more safe on the back.”
Safety paid off.
Missoula Sentinel’s Kade McDonough led after 15 holes but hit his tee shot on No. 17 into a tree. It didn’t come down, forcing a penalty stroke. McDonough finished the championship one shot behind.
As Boone held his breath watching from the 18th green, Kalispell Glacier’s Sam Engellant rolled in a dicey putt to force the sudden death playoff.
In front of a large gallery, both players bogeyed the opening playoff hole, then trotted to 18 for another. With Engellant and the gallery quietly watching, Boone buried his par putt. Engellant's nerve-racking putt to force a third playoff hole lipped out.
Moments later, Boone reflected on his championship-winning roller coaster ride.
“My last high school tournament at the home course I’ve been coming to since Day 1," he said, emotions beginning to set in. "Seeing my mom there … all the stuff she’s seen me go through, all the good times, but all the bad as well. (I'm feeling) just a mix of everything, really.”
In a lighter moment, Boone explained his golf shorts rolled about as high and tight as they’d go.
“I wanted to be a little different. But I’m pretty white, so I wanted to get a little tan going," he said.
The tan may take a little more time. But then again, so did the title.