MISSOULA – Some of the youngest golfers had the most success on Day 1 at the Montana Women’s State Am on Thursday. Bozeman High’s Annika Danenhauer tamed the Missoula Country Club course on her way to a 3-stroke lead after 18 holes.
The Montana Senior Women’s State Am plays at the same time on the same course. Libby’s Bobbie Lacklen holds a slim lead in a crowded field at 8-over-par.
Danenhauer played her front nine at even par and reached 2-under after a birdie on No. 13. Two bogeys over her final five holes brought her back to even, but still three shots clear of her closest challenger, another high school rising senior. Butte Central’s Tricia Joyce carded a 3-over 74, with two birdies over a solid round.
Two college golfers sit in a tie for third. Coral Schulz of Montana State, a native of Whitefish, and Townsend’s Anna DeMars, who now plays for Rocky Mountain College, each shot 75. Schulz played even par other than a poor five-hole stretch to start her back nine. DeMars finished even par on the back, after shooting 4-over on the front nine.
Laurel’s Morgan O’Neil, also a Rocky Mountain College junior, is alone in fifth at 5-over-par.
Defending champion Teigan Avery of Kalispell nearly ended her repeat chances early in the first round. The current Montana Grizzly started 6-over-par through her first six holes but recovered to shoot even par for the rest of the day to trail Danenhauer by six. Libby’s Jackie Mee and Carrie Carpenter of Billings are also 6-over-par.
In the senior tournament, Lacklen parred her last three holes to stay at 8-over and hold a one-shot lead over three challengers. Missoula’s Jo Smith and Marianne Nelson and Polson’s Vicki Lucas are all 9-over par. Missoula’s Julia Jones sits at 10-over, and Hamilton’s Julie Embleton is only three back on a tight leaderboard.
Defending and four-time senior champ Sue Matson of Laurel has dug herself a hole in the search for another trophy. She sits at 18-over-par, nine shots behind Lacklen.
The top players will tee off the second round Friday afternoon and the final round Saturday afternoon.