AA State Golf: Bella Johnson leads Billings West, Verge twins lift Bozeman Gallatin to titles | Golf in high school


BOZEMAN – The state’s 2021 Class AA golf tournaments ended with three champions for the first time. The fourth title ended a dynastic streak.

Billings West won the women’s tag team championship and West’s sophomore Bella Johnson won her first individual title on Friday at the Cottonwood Hills Golf Course. The same goes for men’s medalist Jordan Verge, who helped Bozeman Gallatin to lead the men’s team race for the first time in two years of history. This is Gallatin’s first tag team title in any sport.

This is the first time since 2015 that a team other than Bozeman has won a State AA Women’s Team Title. The Golden Bears not only ended the Hawks ‘streak, but they also won their ninth state team title in program history (tied for third in Montana girls’ history) and their first since 2014.

Before Johnson, their last individual champion was Hayden Flohr in 2015.

Johnson shot a 2-under-71 Thursday. The same score would have beaten the state’s best girls score of 143, set by Maggie Crippen of Missoula Loyola in 2012, and a 72 or better would have surpassed the state’s best two-day AA score of 144, set by Flohr in 2015. Johnson carded a 77 Friday to end the tournament at 2 of 148, tied for the sixth best score in AA state history.

Johnson finished seven strokes ahead of Kodie Hoagland of Butte, second. Johnson’s teammate Hayden Trost and Senior’s Kenzie Walsh tied for third at 20 of 166.

The Golden Bears needed a team score of 317 or less on Friday to break the state women’s AA team record of 638, set by Bozeman last year. They finished with a final round of 341 and a total score of 81 out of 661.

Billings Senior was second (706), Bozeman third (710) and Gallatin fourth (712).

Verge tied the state’s fourth-best individual AA boys score thanks to a 6-under-66 final round on Friday (6 under-30 of his returning nine). That gave the senior Gallatin a total of two rounds of 7 under 137, four ahead of teammate and twin brother Justus, who won the state’s individual AA boys titles in 2018 and 2019.

Jordan placed second in the 2018 and 2019 state tournaments, as he did last year at Kade McDonough of Missoula Sentinel. Jordan finished four strokes behind Justus two years ago and McDonough last fall.

McDonough, now in second year, tied for 10th at 8 of 152 this week. Butte junior Jack Prigge was third (by 144) and Joe McGreevey of Helena Capital tied Will Salonen of Kalispell Glacier for fourth (2 to 146).

Gallatin’s winning team’s total (5 of 581) was 25 better than second-placed Glacier. Capital placed third (615) and Sentinel fourth (623).

This story will be updated.


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