Johnston claims state golf by 14 strokes, sets record

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  • The Libby High School golf team, left to right: Sebo Sanders, Coach Dann Rohrer, Ryggs Johnston, Andrew Freese and Riley Vogel. (Courtesy Photos)

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    Ryggs Johnston and coach Dann Rohrer.

  • The Libby High School golf team, left to right: Sebo Sanders, Coach Dann Rohrer, Ryggs Johnston, Andrew Freese and Riley Vogel. (Courtesy Photos)

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    Ryggs Johnston and coach Dann Rohrer.

SHELBY — Libby sophomore Ryggs Johnston fired 5-under-par 67 in the final round at the Class B state golf tournament to easily defend his title from last season and set a new all-class record for low 36-hole score, finishing at 16-under-par 128.

Johnston shot a 34 on the front nine and a 33 on the back to win the tournament by 14 strokes over Missoula Loyola sophomore Bucky Crippen, who finished at 2-under 142 by carding 71 in both rounds. Huntley Project’s Colton Hudson, who started the day eight strokes back in second place, finished third at 1-under 143.

Johnston had set the all-class record last season at Pryor Creek Golf Club in Huntley, a par-71 course, carding an 11-under 131. He now has the two lowest scores in state and Class B history.

Johnston joins a list of 31 other players to have won at least two state championships, including Glacier’s Larry Iverson (2007-08), Whitefish’s Drew Krause (2001-02), Flathead’s Marlin Hanson (1966-67) and Whitefish’s Don Welch (1949, 1951).

Johnston will have a chance at a third state title when Libby moves up to Class A in the fall.

Libby finished eighth as a team, closing with a mark of 711. Andrew Freese carded a 189 and Sebo Sanders and Riley Vogel each shot 197.

Bigfork’s Colton Stodghill garnered all-state honors by finishing 14th after carding a 162 and Augie Emslie finished three strokes shy of the top 15, with a 166.

Loyola (642) topped Townsend (645) by three strokes to score its first team title since 2013.

Three Forks won its second straight girls state title, pulling away from host Shelby to win by 27 strokes. The Wolves top four scorers finished inside the top 18 golfers.

Loyola took the top two spots, with Kylie Esh earning medalist honors with a final round 76, finishing at 2-over-par 146 to win the tournament by 13 strokes. It is the second-lowest score in Class B history, falling behind only former Breakers star Maggie Crippen, who set the mark at 143 in 2010.

Ronan’s Brooklyn Olson tied for 11th after carding 183 and Bigfork’s Isabella Santistevan was 13th with a 184, both earning all-state honors. The Valkyries were fifth as a team, with Melissa Paulson shooting 203, Carly Stodghill 223, Rachel Whitney 235 and Hattie Emslie 256.

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