HAMILTON — State A golf for boys and girls wrapped up Saturday in Hamilton, and it was the leaders from Friday — Aubrey Kelley and Katie Lewis — that hung onto their leads and were crowned as the 2022 individual champions.
"I was stressing out during the tournament so much that I was kind of emotionally blank so when the final putt went in I was like, ‘I just made a putt,’" said Kelley. "And then I was like, 'Did I win state, did I not?’ It was definitely a little nerve wracking but I was really excited."
And despite shooting 2-under par on the day, that stress seeped through briefly but was quickly erased.
"Turned it around, went from bogey, bogey to birdie, birdie and that was exciting and it hasn’t set in yet, I’m still in disbelief that I just won state," grinned Kelley.
It's an accomplishment Kelley will no doubt cherish forever about the sport he loves most.
"It’s definitely got it’s challenges, it’s got it’s ups and downs but it’s most rewarding when you can hit your shots," said Kelley. "And I don’t know. It’s really fun to just swing a stick and hit a ball around."
Livingston’s Kelley wasn’t the only sophomore champion. On the other side of the course Frenchtown’s Katie Lewis took home the honors thanks to her dominant 17-stroke win.
"It’s really like a one-swing process, like I take one swing, see how it goes and then just think about the next," said Lewis. "I never really think about hole to hole or anything like that."
And when it come to the mental side of golf, Lewis doesn’t shy away from the challenge.
"I mean golf is one of the hardest games to keep it mentally OK and to keep it how I did today, I’m really proud of," Lewis said with a smile.
And Lewis couldn’t contain her excitement after her final putt of the day went in.
"I sat there and I was like, ‘Holy cow I did it I can’t believe it,'" said Lewis.
Outside of the two individual state champions, it was Laurel who brought home the team state title for the boys and Polson for the girls.
State A golf
at Hamilton Golf Club
Team scores: Laurel 302-302-604, Polson 312-299-611, Whitefish 314-304, Livingston 312-310-622, Hamilton 318-321-639, Corvallis 335-326-661, Lewistown 340-321-661, Billings Central 343-342-685.
Top 10 individuals: Aubrey Kelley, Livingston, 68-70-138; Carson Hupka, Polson, 71-71-142; Cameron Hackmann, Laurel, 74-69-143; Billy Smith, Whitefish, 72-71-143; Sam Norman, Laurel, 76-74-150; Eli Wesenberger, Laurel, 75-76-151; Max Cianflone, Hamilton, 73-80-153; Hunter Emerson, Polson, 78-75-153; Brady Powell, Corvallis, 79-76-155; Ryder Lee, Miles City, 75-81-156; Johnny Nix, Whitefish, 79-77-156.
Team scores: Polson 379-374-753, Hamilton 401-372-773, Frenchtown 400-388-788, Laurel 401-403-804, Billings Central 406-408-814, Livingston 420-437-857, Sidney 428-452-880, Ronan 490-426-916.
Top 10 individuals: Katie Lewis, Frenchtown, 77-76-153; Karsyn Swigart, Miles City, 86-84-170; Ashley Maki, Polson, 87-87-174; Kiaralynn Weidinger, Lockwood, 92-90-182; Jori Haugen, Billings Central, 94-90-184; Alyssa Pretty On Top, Ronan, 92-93-185; Emma Hollingsworth, Hamilton, 96-89-185; Camille Poncin, Livingston, 95-94-189; Clare Konen, Polson, 95-95-190; Shea Reber, Havre, 95-95-190.