The leaders atop the scoreboard going into Wednesday’s final round of the Class C high school golf championship at Madison Meadows Golf Course in Ennis were clustered tightly together. But by the end of the day leader Karlee Popp of Park City claimed the girls’ individual title with a commanding victory, while Tate Tatom of Lone Peak barely walked away with the boys’ title.
Heading out in the top flight late Wednesday morning Tatom held a comfortable two-stroke lead over Manhattan Christian’s Kendal Asher. But Sean Ryan of Great Falls Central mounted a thunderous comeback from third place to start the day, finishing one stroke behind Tatom after scoring a 75 for the final round of the tournament.
Ryan displayed the confidence of a seasoned competitor at the turn.
“I’m going to push myself a little harder, hopefully roll a few more putts in and not give any strokes back,” he said. “I didn’t have such a hot day yesterday, but hopefully today I can come back and maybe challenge for the title.”
After a moment, Ryan reflected on the importance of his last high school tournament before going to school next year at Montana Tech.
“Being a senior, its kind of sad,” he said. “I think the best part is knowing that it’s my last hurrah, and I’ve just got to give it all I can.
For the girls’ side, Karlee Popp bettered her score from Tuesday by two strokes, finishing with an 84 for the round despite the effects of mononucleosis, which she was diagnosed with just two weeks ago.
“I got tired really easily. Especially on this course,” Popp said. “I kind of struggled at the end there, but other than that I did alright.”
Popp was forced indoors along with other golfers for a half-hour weather delay shortly after 3:30 p.m. between the high temperatures on Tuesday and inclement wind and rain drops on Wednesday, weather was definitely a factor, Popp said.
“Today it sucked being pulled off. That was like the worst part,” she said. “Once you get in a rhythm you’ve just got to keep going.”
“But you’ve just got to play it how it is. You can’t change it.”
Ennis golfers Matthew Johnerson and Kyler Elliott scored175 and 179 respectively in the boys’ competition while Mikayla Sullivan, Chelsea Martello, Tori Durham and Kortney Dietz scored 199, 208, 219 and 226 respectively for the girls.
While Kyler Elliot didn’t finis atop the podium, he was pleased with a personal-best three birdies in a row during Tuesday’s round, known as a Turkey.
“The best part of this tournament was being able to just come out and play a fun sport that I like to do,” he said.
For photos of the golfers in action visit www.madisoniannews.com.