Sometimes reinforcements for a high school sports program come of age and up from the local middle school. Sometimes they come from Idaho.
The Hamilton boys’ golf team wrapped up the State A title Saturday at their home course behind five balanced scorers, one of whom wasn’t even enrolled at a school in Montana last year.
Max Toenjes, who moved to the Bitterroot since last fall from Sandpoint, Idaho, fired a team-best two-day 155 to finish fourth and help the Broncs bust Day-1 leader Billings Central.
“It’s definitely more competitive over here and the guys are great,” Toenjes said, though admitting the transition was tough at first for the sophomore. “It’s nice having this kind of competition now instead of just over the summer.”
After shooting 81 at his new home course, Hamilton Golf Club, on Friday, the latest Bronc doubled his efforts and came away with a 74 in Saturday’s round. The 2-over-par was the third-best score of any golfer and trailed only a 72 by eventual champion Caleb Stetzner of Anaconda and a 73 by runner-up Chris Delaney of Frenchtown.
It was a solid showing for the newbie, who didn’t place as a freshman in Idaho’s 4A state tournament and shot in the 80s this past spring.
“He fits in perfectly with us,” Hamilton coach Owen Burch said. “And, bottom line, he’s a sophomore.”
What Coach Burch is referring too is his own delight by having a top-5 golfer in the state back for two more years of play. He won’t be the only one either. Of Hamilton’s three boy all-staters, golfers who finished in the top 15 at the state meet this weekend, none are older than their junior year and two are sophomores.
Josh Heath, who finished tied for sixth this fall after an 11th-place finish a year ago, is the oldest among the group as a junior. Burch’s son, Ty, is also a sophomore. He placed 15th.
Even without any further shipments of goodies for the Broncs from down the pipeline, Hamilton already has to be considered a front-runner for another state trophy.