After a top-10 finish at state last year, Pirate golfer Carson McDaniel has been sharpening his aim and working his way toward an even better state showing this season. On Sept. 2, he tied for first at the Columbia Falls Invitational (held at the Mission Mountain Golf Course in Ronan), and just last Tuesday, he proved he’s the top dog on his home course, nearly making par as he won the Polson Invitational in 75 strokes, just three over the mark. He was in the victor’s circle again on Thursday in Columbia Falls with a score of 78.
“Carson McDaniel’s been on quite a run — he’s taken first in the last three tournaments,” said veteran coach Bill Owen, who’s won five state titles in two decades coaching Polson golf. “He’s got a pretty good chance to move up (at state).”
In both wins last week, McDaniel led his team to first-place finishes, backed by senior Curtis Capdeville, standout newcomer Matt Hobbs and junior Colin Kenney. All together, they’ll make the Pirate golf squad a force to be reckoned with come the state tournament, according to Owen. The boys’ team finished sixth at state last year.
“I’m getting a pretty good team effort,” he said. “They’re scoring well … Curtis (Capdeville) has definitely stepped his game up. The rest of them I really feel like are hovering around where they’re gonna make that breakthrough.”
It will be the last chance to make their mark at state for seniors Alex Salois — “He could definitely qualify,” Owen noted — Capdeville and Payton Lefthand.
Lady Pirate Kiyara McCue, a junior, is the only returning state golfer on the girls’ team, and Owen is looking for great improvement from her 33rd-place finish at last year’s competition.
“She’s starting to break 100,” Owen noted.
McCue shot a 98 at the Polson meet, landing her in eighth place, and finished fifth with a 114 at the Columbia Falls Triangular. Teammate Emily Davis, a sophomore, was close behind in sixth place with 116.
“Emily Davis had a really good round in Columbia Falls,” Owen said. “That was her best performance of the season.”
Rounding out the girls’ team is freshman Amanda Farley, who’s been holding her own in her first year of varsity competition.
“(The girls) are all improving and I think we have a good chance of taking them all to state,” Owen said.
Columbia Falls Triangularat Meadow Lake Resort Par 72
Team Scores – Polson 359, Whitefish 388, Columbia Falls 397.
Top 10 Individuals – 1, Carson McDaniel, Polson, 78; 2, Joey Walp, Whitefish, 79; 3, Gabe Love, Columbia Falls 84; 4, Curtis Capdeville, Polson, 90; 5, Matt Hobbs, Polson, 92; 6, Noah McDonald, Polson, 99; 7, Colin Kenney, Polson, 100; T8, Logan Peck, Columbia Falls, 103; T8, Thomas Carloss, Whitefish, 103; T10, Logan Lybbert, Columbia Falls, 105; T10, LJ Panasuk, Columbia Falls, 105.
Individuals – 1, Holly Hileman, Whitefish, 92; 2, Hayley Hileman, Whitefish, 102; 3, Paige Sproul, Whitefish, 104; 4, Myah Strauser, Whitefish, 110; 5, Kiyara McCue, Polson, 114; 6, Emily Davis, Polson, 116; 7, Shea Lefebvre, Columbia Falls, 120; 8, Kerry Lanners, Columbia Falls 130; 9, Carly Eason, Whitefish, 142.
Polson Invitational at Polson Bay Golf Course Par 72
Team scores – Whitefish 345, Browning 297. Not scoring: Polson, Hamilton, Columbia Falls.
1, Coral Schulz, Whi, 76; 2, Sidney Rose, Ham, 86; t-3, Katie Fyall, Whi, 87; t-3, Summer Kennedy, Bro, 87; 5, Hailey Hileman, Whi, 89; 6; Tiara Gilham, Bro, 91; 7, Holly Hileman, Whi, 93; 8, Kiyara McCue, Pol, 98; 9, Sarah Harrison, Bro, 99; 10, Melisa Kemp, Ham, 102; 11, Emily Davis, Pol, 115; 12, Liz Roberts, Ham, 118; t-13, Kerry Lanes, CF, 120; t-13, Ranessa Skunkcap, Brow, 120; 15, Mykayla Labuff, Brow, 121; 16, Amanda Farley, Pol, 129.
Team scores – Polson 336, Whitefish 355, Stevensville 373. Not scoring: Browning, Columbia Falls.
1, Carson McDaniel, Pol, 75; 2, Trae Kennedy, Bro, 81; 3, Levi Cassman, Ste, 83; 4, Cole Turgeon, Whi, 84; 5, Brenden Bulls, Whi, 85; t-6, Curtis Capdeville, Pol, 86; t-6, Matt Hobbs, Pol, 86; 8, Colin Kenney, Pol, 89; Gabe Love, CF, 90; t-10, Jakob Thompson, Ste, 91; t-10, Jack Kahle, Whi, 91; 12, Cole Ashby, Whi, 95; 13, Zel Frost, Ste, 98; 14, Jayce Painter, Ste, 101; 15, Noah McDonald, Pol, 103.