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Montana to host Griz Invitational this week

03 Dec 2021 | 06:59 | Golf

Live scoring will be available through the Golf Genius app (ID: grizinvite21)

The Montana women’s golf team will host the two-round Griz Invitational on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Missoula Country Club, with play starting at 10 a.m. each day.

Montana will be joined at the tournament by golfers from Montana State and Eastern Washington.

The Grizzlies will compete with a scoring five of Kylie Esh, Jessica Ponce, Allison Sobol, Tricia Joyce and Meredith Boos.

Those five will go up against five golfers from Eastern Washington, a team the Grizzlies defeated by 11 strokes last week at the 54-hole Battle at Old Works in Anaconda, a tournament Montana won.

The Grizzlies will have Emmy Sundby, Kylie Franklin, Madison Cecil and Margaret Harmon competing as individuals.

With its top golfers competing this week at the New Mexico State Invitational, Montana State will send four athletes to Missoula to compete as individuals.

While this week’s tournament is small in number, it should be high in competitiveness. Five of the top seven finishers at Old Works, who finished within four strokes of one another, will be competing.

Joyce, who was second overall, finished two strokes clear of Eastern Washington’s Jaelin Ishikawa, who is in this week’s field.

A stroke behind Ishikawa were Ponce and Eastern Washington’s Morgan Baum. Esh was one stroke behind Ponce and Baum.

“It’s a chance to compete, and we’re not at a hotel. We’re in our own environment,” said coach Kris Nord.

“The expectations are the same, and that’s to get a little bit better with the things we’ve been working on. That comes down to trusting the process of putting the same energy into every single shot despite what’s going on in the round.”

The tournament comes a week after Montana won the Battle at Old Works, the Grizzlies’ first tournament victory since 2013.

Montana trailed Montana State by two strokes after 36 holes but fought through a cold, windy final 18 on Tuesday to win by four.

“It was a good victory. You always like to go beat the Bobcats and win their tournament. It’s a feather in our cap and a step in the right direction,” said Nord.

“I was really proud of their grit because it really was grinding through the last hour of golf. I don’t feel like I had anybody waving the flag.”

This week’s tournament is the last scheduled event for the fall season, though that could still change.

If Wednesday wraps up the fall, Montana won’t play again until opening the spring season with a one-day match-play event against North Dakota State in Palm Springs, Calif., on Feb. 20.

“To get a gauge of where everybody is at in February will be a very nice lead-in to March and April,” said Nord, whose team will play four other spring tournaments prior to the Big Sky Conference Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz., in late April.