BILLINGS – Eryn Ellis came in to the Women’s State Am at The Briarwood Golf Club as a favorite, but no one could have seen this coming. For the first time in the 102-year tournament history, the winner finished under par, after Ellis closed with a 79 to finish at 5-under par for the championship. Ellis won the tournament by eight strokes.
Ellis came in to the final round with a nine-shot lead after blistering the course for a personal best 7-under-par 67 on Friday.
Ellis knew she had a cushion, but said she was more concerned with how she played. She didn’t play up to her standards on Saturday, but it was more than enough to get the victory.
The former Rocky Mountain College star settled for par on the first three holes before getting into gear with a birdie on No. 4. She added another birdie on the par-4 10th, before hitting her par-saving putt on 18 to win the championship.
Ellis, who will be looking to qualify for the LPGA Tour in the near future, said the support she received the entire weekend was absolutely incredible. She also said the celebration would be cut short in order to get back to work on the practice range.
It was her first win at the Montana State Amateur.
Coral Schulz finished second with a 225 total, while Tricia Joyce and Delaney Elliott finished tied for third at 228.
Former Billings West star Carrie Carpenter finished seventh with a 236.
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The Women’s Senior Amateur championship figured to be a much tighter finish, but Helena’s Susan Court had other ideas.
Court came in with only a two-shot lead over Billings golfer and The Briarwood Golf Club member Lisa Forsberg, but Court started on fire.
Court saved par on four of the first six holes to help open up a seven shot lead at the turn. Court finished with an 86 for the day, but it was more than enough to capture her third Women’s Senior State Am title.
Forsberg struggled on the first three holes and could never recapture the momentum from the first two days, as she settled for a 93. She finished in a tie for second with defending champion Jo Smith, who closed the tournament with an 89 on Saturday.
Court won the tournament by nine shots.
Court’s victory came five years after she captured her second win in 2014 and said this was the most satisfying of the three because of the work she put into it. Court said she has been in training since Christmas and she planned to celebrate with a glass of wine.
That is one hard earned glass of wine.
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