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Rocky Mountain College golf coach Nathan Bailey eyeing 4th State Am title after heartbreaking 2023

Nathan Bailey
Posted at 4:43 PM, Jun 28, 2024

BILLINGS — Rocky Mountain College golf coach Nathan Bailey is no stranger to playing in big tournaments.

Bailey is a three-time winner of the Montana Men’s State Am, winning three consecutive years from 2010-12, and also won the Mid-Am back in 2020.

That Mid-Am was at Laurel Golf Club, the site of this year’s State Am, giving Bailey a certain level of confidence.

“It's tough to beat when you are very comfortable on a course. I've played it I don't know how many times," Bailey said. "The course is going to be playing hard and the greens will be fast. It's going to be tough."

Bailey believes his game is just as good as it was in 2010 when he won the first of his State Am titles, as he plays to a +6 handicap at 43 years old.

Just last year Bailey held a two-stroke lead entering the final round of the State Am at Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda before Joey Moore won a three-way playoff. Bailey also finished runner-up to Jake Hedge in the Mid-Am at Hedge's home course of Yellowstone Country Club in Billings.

“The State Am, losing that playoff, that stung. I don't know if I've really came that close to a tournament that really kind of hurt," Bailey said. "It sat with me for a while. Having my dad there and my youngest boy kind of on the bag with me — it was a very special week. I really wanted that one, so that did sit with me."

Per usual, Bailey will likely have a strong contingent of supporters in Laurel next month as he grinds it out on his home course.

“I've got my wife on the bag this year. She's going to caddie for me. She caddied for me in the Club Championship last year, and that was a very good result," Bailey said. "She's somebody that is really just kind of getting into the game herself, so it's good to have somebody on the bag that keeps me grounded, keeps things in perspective and keeps me in a good mood.

"Just going out and enjoying the company — walking with my best friend on the golf course, you can't ask for anything better than that. We're really looking forward to that week and spending some time and hopefully it's a good week."

The 107th Men’s State Am will run July 18-20 at Laurel Golf Club.