Lady Locomotives win third straight divisional golf title

Hannah Adams, Carson Hackmann medalists
By 
Chris Mcconnell
Thursday, October 1, 2020
2020 Eastern A Divisional Champion Hannah Adams hits a tee shot on the 4th hole at Lake Hills Golf Course while her coach and teammates watch. Adams shot 79 to take medalist honors and lead the Lady Locos to their third consecutive Divisional title. Outlook photo by Chris McConnell

2020 Eastern A Divisional Champion Hannah Adams hits a tee shot on the 4th hole at Lake Hills Golf Course while her coach and teammates watch. Adams shot 79 to take medalist honors and lead the Lady Locos to their third consecutive Divisional title. Outlook photo by Chris McConnell

Carson Hackmann chips to the 17th hole at Lake Hills en route to shooting 73 and winning his first Eastern A Divisional title on Sept. 24. The team finished second behind Billings Central. Outlook photo by Chris McConnell

Carson Hackmann chips to the 17th hole at Lake Hills en route to shooting 73 and winning his first Eastern A Divisional title on Sept. 24. The team finished second behind Billings Central. Outlook photo by Chris McConnell

LHS Senior Landen Gradwohl hits a recovery shot from the fescue at Lake Hills Golf Course last Thursday during the Eastern A Divisional golf tournament. Gradwohl shot 82 to finish 6th in his Divisional tournament debut. Outlook photo by Chris McConnell

LHS Senior Landen Gradwohl hits a recovery shot from the fescue at Lake Hills Golf Course last Thursday during the Eastern A Divisional golf tournament. Gradwohl shot 82 to finish 6th in his Divisional tournament debut. Outlook photo by Chris McConnell

The Laurel girl’s golf team is poised to win their third consecutive State Class A Championship after routing the field last Thursday in the Divisional tournament at Lake Hills Golf Course. The Lady Locos took four of the top five spots to shoot 334 and top second– place Sidney by 61 strokes.

Defending State Class A Individual Champion Hannah Adams was medalist after posting a 79 in breezy conditions Sept. 24. The LHS junior said course was in good shape and the greens were rolling nice but, “The wind was tough, it caught me a few times on my approaches.” She shot 38–41 to edge her sister by one shot.

Hailee, who took 3rd at State in 2019, was the Divisional runner–up for the second straight year after shooting an 80.

Breanna Jensen tied for 3rd with an 85 and heads to State with a 84.4 scoring average which is a remarkable 14– shot improvement over last year’s average. Breanna only shot in the 80s twice last year, but has not been in the 90s this year and posted two sub–80 rounds. She was medalist at the Billings Central Invite on Sept. 8.

Freshman Alivia Webinger was 5th with a 90 and has averaged 84.6 on the year. Sophomore Molly Cooney had her second lowest round of the season, posting a 96 to take 7th as an individual.

Coach Jim O’Neil said the girls’ performance this year that saw them win every Class A tournament by an average of 77 shots surprised even him. “I thought we’d be good, but not this dominating.” The Adams twins are the obvious team leaders but O’Neil is also impressed with Jensen and Webinger’s games. Speaking of Jensen’s remarkable improvement since last year he said, “I thought it would be a two–year process but she and Brad Fox [her stepdad] did it in six months, and she’s not done.” He said Webinger doesn’t look like a freshman, “She already plays like a veteran on the team.”

The State Tournament starts today at the short Butte Country Club where the Lady Locos are heavy favorites to win their third consecutive State title. Hannah said, “I played it twice this summer but this is my first tournament there. We are going to stick to the same game plan we’ve had all year and don’t need to change anything to prepare. It’s nice to be the favorite but there is no extra pressure, we just need to go play solid golf.”

O’Neil said the team is bringing emotion and confidence to Butte. “On the first day we are going to play good, smart golf and use playing together as a team to our advantage. If we can compete within our own group we will be in good shape.”

Loco Boys

The boys took 2nd behind Billings Central after shooting 324 to the Rams’ 319 and Carson Hackmann was the Divisional Champion after posting a one–over 73. The boys played from the championship tees which made scoring difficult when the wind was added. Hackmann was under par for most of the day before finishing with a couple late bogeys.

He said he stayed patient during his round. “The wind was tough and made it challenging, but I stuck to my game plan because everyone had to play in the same conditions.”

Senior Landen Gradwohl finished in solo 6th after an 82 in his first Divisional tournament as a Loco. Trey Ewalt took 8th after an 83, Eli Weisenberger was 12th after an 86 and Kade Ewalt shot 89 to take 15th.

Hackman has been State runner–up the past two years, falling on the third playoff hole at Laurel Golf Club last year.

Butte CC is the oldest country club in Montana, founded in 1899, and is barely 6,000 yards long, which is short in the era of oversized drivers and souped– up golf balls.

Hackmann played the course for the first time two weeks ago and said his strategy is to focus on tee shot placement, only using the club necessary to put him in the best position on each hole. “My wedge game has been good so I will be hitting a lot of 4–irons off the tee, but will hit a few drivers and 2–irons as well. I don’t plan to be overly aggressive,” he said.

O’Neil said the boys aren’t the odds– on favorites to win their fourth consecutive State tournament but said, “We’re where we need to be. They know what the expectations are and know what it’s like to win. Assistant Coach Shawn Hackmann is experienced and has had individual tournament success [he was a star Loco golfer in the 80s] and he is going to make a difference for the boys. This team has the toughness to grind it out and have patience and trust in the coaching.”

The teams teed off this morning in Butte and the 2020 Class A State Championship concludes with the final round tomorrow.

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