WHITEFISH — This weekend marks the 85th annual Whitefish Lake three-day Fourth Of July golf tournament.
Whitefish Lake golf pro Tim Olson said this tournament is something that is held to a high standard.
"This is the 85th annual Fourth of July tournament. It's just a great event for, you know, not only Whitefish Lake Golf Club to showcase our facility, but the entire community in Whitefish takes a lot of pride in this event and the tournament," said Olson.
It wasn't quite the same last year. There were fewer people allowed into the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So everyone couldn't wait to tee off this July.
"After last year and kind of cutting down the tournament a little bit, everybody's back full force," Olson said. "We have 220 players and had about 50 on the waiting lists."
This is one of the best amateur tournaments in all the northwest, and some of the best players show up to play.
"This year we're boasting 42 golfers that are either zero or plus handicap so we're pretty proud of that," said Olson.
Whitefish Lake Golf Course is one of best public courses, so in return it not only brings people from Montana but also people from all over the country that come out to see what this course has to offer.
Cathie Tronson, a Montana native, has been playing in this tournament since high school, and she can't help but keep coming back.
"I've been doing this for 20 years, kind of on and off, but I just love it," said Tronson.
Cory Mehl was a former champion and said it was his life goal to come and win this tournament.
"I love coming here. I've been playing here for 15 years or so. It's a very highly-competitive tournament. It brings a lot of great players from around the area, even the country, to Whitefish Lake's golf club," said Mehl.
It is not just the high level of competition that keeps bringing players back, but also the enjoyment that they have out on the course.
"Even just playing today, there's other groups out there just blaring music and laughing and having a good time and that's just, unlike any other tournament that you can play," said Tronson.
"I love coming back here and so many good memories, so many good times and fantastic friendships and relationships have been built here," added Mehl.
So far through the first two days of the tournament, Joey Moore from Billings leads the men's field at 7-under-par. Andrew Medley from Scottsdale, Arizona, is second at 6-under, Riley Lawrence from Helena sits in third at 5-under and Oscar Maxfield is at 4-under.
For the females, Jasi Acharya from Carver, Minnesota, leads with a 2-under-par. Morgan O'Neil from Laurel is at 9-over in second. Marcella Mercer from Bigfork sits at 11-over while Tronson is 12-over. Cora Ronsanova from Bozeman is 13-over to round out the top five.