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Macee Greenwood, Billy Smith claim State Junior titles in Laurel

Billy Smith birdie.png
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 19:43:56-04

LAUREL — Macee Greenwood and Billy Smith claimed State Junior Championship titles on Tuesday afternoon at Laurel Golf Club.

Greenwood, who calls Hamilton Country Club home, entered the day with a three-shot lead and put her foot on the proverbial gas pedal in Tuesday's final round. Greenwood fired her second consecutive 5-over-par 77, good enough to win by 10 shots over second-place Emma Woods of Fairfield.

Greenwood had seven birdies on the weekend, racking them up on her back nine each day. On Monday, Greenwood went out in 43 after teeing off No. 1 but rallied to birdie Nos. 10, 14, 16 and 17 to come in in 34.

It was a similar story for Greenwood on Tuesday, as she teed off No. 10 and shot her first nine in 42. Birdies on Nos. 4, 7 and 9 helped her shoot a 35 to wrap up the championship.

"Luckily I was able to make the turn and say, ‘This is my last state tournament so I might as well see how low I can go.’ I’m happy with how I came back both days," Greenwood said.

It was a bit more dramatic on the boys side.

Billy Smith of Whitefish entered the day with a one-shot lead over Missoula's Joe Opitz. Opitz grabbed the lead after a birdie on the Par-5 11th when Smith bogeyed, but a bogey on No. 12 put the two back into a deadlock. Smith then birdied the Par-3 13th to take a one-stroke lead.

After Smith stuck his approach shot on the Par-4 14th inside 10 feet, Opitz needed to answer to keep Smith in his sights. Opitz buried a 35-foot putt for birdie to once again tie things up, but Smith calmly stepped up and answered with a birdie of his own. Another birdie on No. 16 essentially sealed the deal for Smith.

"It was a little nerve-wracking. I didn't think (Opitz) was going to make that putt," Smith said. "I knew I trusted my line and I knew I could make it."

Smith finished the tournament 1-over-par in total, but he finished 1-under-par on holes 10-18, picking up six birdies between the two rounds.

"(Monday) I teed off on the back and I just thought it played a little easier, some of the holes. Whenever I can have a wedge in my hand it’s definitely an advantage," Smith said. "One of my strong suits of my game is definitely from 120 yards and inside. I felt like I had more opportunities on this back side than I did on the other side.”

Full results of the 2022 State Junior Championship can be found here.