MISSOULA — It’s been more than eight years since the Montana women’s golf team has won a tournament, since the Grizzlies claimed their home event at the Missoula Country Club in September 2013.
On Tuesday, Montana will have a chance to end that streak.
The Grizzlies shot rounds of 306 and 307 on Monday as the three-round Battle at Old Works got under way at Old Works Golf Course in Anaconda.
That leaves them just two strokes off the 36-hole lead of host Montana State (304-307).
Eastern Washington (314-314) and Idaho State (332-308) will go into Tuesday’s final 18 holes playing for third and fourth.
“We had a couple kids step up in the first round, which was great,” said coach Kris Nord. “I hope we can turn around and do it again tomorrow.”
Behind the play of Tricia Joyce, who is from nearby Butte and sits in second place after shooting a 1-under 71 in Monday’s opening round, the Grizzlies have four players in the top eight.
Joyce followed her 71, when she birdied four of nine holes during one hot stretch, with a 77 in Round 2. Her 71 was one off her best collegiate score, which also was shot at Old Works in 2019.
Meredith Boos (78-76) is in sixth, Kylie Esh (78-77) is sitting seventh and Jessica Ponce (79-77) is holding down eighth place. Allison Sobol (81-78) is tied for 12th.
“It wasn’t exactly easy course conditions or playing conditions, so I was real impressed with our scores,” said Nord.
“Most of our kids have played the course, and that helps. It was really windy and tough pins, so I was really pleased where we ended up.”
The reason Montana isn’t in the team lead is the play of Montana State’s Kameryn Basye, who shot rounds of 71 and 71 on Monday and leads second-place Joyce by six strokes.
“We have to go make some more putts tomorrow, and our misses have to be in better places with the pins here. Hopefully we’ll have control of the ball to do that,” said Nord.
“Otherwise we’ll keep everything the same. Same routine. Nothing changes.”
Freshman Kylie Franklin, who is competing as an individual, had the team’s second-lowest score of the day, carding a 75 in the opening round.
That came after rounds of 87-84-83 last week at the Kelsey Chugg Invitational in Eden, Utah.
She birdied the par-4 18th and the par-5 11th in Round 1 on Monday and is just behind Sobol in a tie for 14th.
“She played really well for a freshman seeing the course for the first time,” said Nord. “She picked it up enormously from last week.
“I think she was birdie-less down at Wolf Creek and today she made some birdies. She made some putts and made some good birdies. I’m happy for her. She got a good boost of confidence.”
Emmy Sundby (81-85), Madison Cecil (87-85) and Margaret Harmon (90-83) also competed for Montana.
Tuesday’s final round will start at 8:30 a.m.