MISSOULA – High school seniors held the top spots at the Montana Women’s State Amateur Tournament through 27 holes. But a late round serge now has a college golfer in front.
Laurel’s Morgan O’Neil shot three under over her last 11 holes on Friday to take the lead from Bozeman’s Annika Danenhauer. O’Neil carded a one-under round of 70 to move to four over for the tournament. The Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bear holds one shot ahead of Danenhauer. The Bozeman High senior collected five bogeys on her back nine to fall to five over.
Butte Central senior Tricia Joyce continues to remain solid and in the running. One day after shooting a 74, Joyce scored a 75 to move to seven over, three behind O’Neil. Defending champion Teigan Avery of Kalispell had put herself back in serious contention at one under through her first 10 holes of the day. But the Montana Grizzly bogeyed three straight holes down the stretch to fall to nine over, five out of first.
O’Neil, Danenhauer, Joyce and Avery will all play in the final group for the final round. They will tee off at 1:40 on Saturday afternoon.
At the Senior Women’s State Am playing at the same time on the Missoula Country Club Course, the leaderboard is even more crowded. Missoula’s Jo Smith takes the lead after two rounds. But first round leader Bobbie Lacklen of Libby is only one back.
Smith survived a couple double bogeys on her front nine to shoot a nine-over par 80 for a second straight day. Lacklen followed a 79 with an 82 that included three straight double bogeys on 9, 10 and 11.
The top five seniors are all within four shots of the lead. Polson’s Vicki Lucas started the front and back nines with birdies. She sits at 20 over par, two behind Smith. Hamilton’s Julie Embleton is at 21 over. She played a steady round Friday with eight pars and 10 bogeys. Missoula’s Julia Jones had a chance to land near the top, but finished five over on her last four holes. Jones comes into the final round at 22 over par, four shots back.
Smith, Lacklen, Lucas and Embleton will pair up for the final round, teeing off at 1:20 Saturday afternoon.