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Quest complete: Manhattan Christian's Caidin Hill finishes with three-peat

Posted at 4:26 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 12:56:55-04

BOZEMAN — Heading back to the Riverside Country Club after finishing the final round of the State C golf tournament in Bozeman on Wednesday, Caidin Hill was asked how he had fared.

Not one for boasting, he gave a modest answer.

"I parred the last hole, so I think I won," said the Manhattan Christian senior.

His teammate, senior Cullen Visser, wasn't so bashful.

"Oh, he definitely won," Visser said with a grin.

The outcome was never in doubt.

Hill built a comfortable four-stroke lead by the time he made the turn and went on to conclude his high school golf career with a third individual championship, winning by six strokes while helping power the Eagles boys to a third straight team title. According to the Montana High School Association record book, he's just the ninth boy to accomplish that feat.

His name now stands alongside some of Montana's all-time great high school golfers including Lone Peak's Tate Totem who went on to golf for the Air Force Academy and Billings West product Brandon McIver who earned his first pro win in 2018.

With the 2020 season wiped out, Hill was denied an opportunity to join Libby product Ryggs Johnston, now at Arizona State, and Columbus' Brandon Davison as the only boys in Montana high school history to four-peat.

But Hill will still be able to look back and know that he came out on top in every high school golf season he participated in.

"Obviously it feels great," Hill said. "You try and practice and prepare for this, and to be able to go out and do it feels really good."

Hill emerged to win the 2018 State C tournament at Fairmont Hot Springs as a freshman. He was still young enough that he didn't feel much pressure as he worked toward a championship. But by the time the 2019 tournament rolled around, he knew he no longer had the luxury of anonymity.

"As a freshman I definitely didn't realize where I was at," Hill said. "And then I went and was able to win as a freshman. And then sophomore year you're coming back and now you're the defending state champion and you've got people coming after you."

The heat was on at Double Arrow Golf Course in Seeley Lake, but Hill stayed cool and went on to win by 12 strokes.

"Everybody's gunning for you so there definitely is some pressure," Hill said. "But you shouldn't be able to win state if there's not a little bit of pressure."

It was a mixed bag of emotions as Hill headed into the final round on Wednesday. He wanted to soak it in but also knew he had to remain laser-focused if he wanted to earn a third title.

"Knowing that it was the last hurrah is kind of sad for sure," Hill said. "But there still was work to be done. I still had to go out and shoot a good score. There are definitely some other good golfers out there. Just focusing on every single shot. Just focus on that and make sure that it's a good shot.

"It worked out."