GREAT FALLS — The Bozeman Gallatin boys showed exceptional skill and depth Thursday as they dominated play on the opening day of the Eastern AA golf tournament at Eagle Falls Golf Course.
The Raptors, who have won all their tournaments this fall, placed all five players in the top nine after 18 holes of the 36-hole event. Senior Jordan Verge led the way with a 1-under-par 70 as the Raptors posted a 289 total (best four of five) on a mild, breezy day at Eagle Falls.
That was good enough for a 15-stroke lead over Billings Senior, which claimed the day’s medalist in Reece Mayala (69). Bronc teammate Siam Wilailuck tied for seventh with a solid 74.
Justus Verge, Jordan’s twin and a two-time state AA champion, was tied for third at 72 with Tye Boone of Billings Skyview. Eli Groshelle of Great Falls CMR and Raney Lloyd of Gallatin were next at 73, followed by Raptors Stevie Voigt and Gavin Klein at 74.
The girls team and individual races are both tight after one round. The Billings West girls opened with 339, five better than Bozeman and eight in front of Senior.
Bella Johnson of West and Addiley Lloyd of Gallatin share the individual lead at 78, two better than Elly Atkins of Bozeman. Kadence Fisher of West is third at 81, one better than Kenzie Walsh of Senior and two in front of Lauren Mayala of Senior.
Action concludes Friday with a shotgun start at 9 a.m. The top four boys and girls teams automatically qualify for the state tournament, to be played next Thursday and Friday at Cottonwood Golf Course in Bozeman. The 10 next best boys and girls also will qualify to compete at Cottonwood.