Thursday, May 22, 2014

Tate Tatom Wins a Third State Title

In March, 2013 we played our first round of golf for the year with a young man from Big Sky by the name of Tate Tatom.  Big Sky is known for its skiing. The New York Times refers to Big Sky as "the biggest place you've never skied." Big Sky refers to Big Sky as the "Biggest Skiing in America," period. They even trademarked it.

Welcome to the Biggest Skiing in America® 5,500 acres of unforgettable ski terrain,
400 inches of annual snowfall sweeping panoramic mountain views, no lift lines, one ski pass. Combine that with Lone Mountain Ranch, the number one Nordic Center in North America with over 80 kilometers of groomed ski trails, and you have a ski mecca.

If Tate Tatom was grooming himself to compete for a slot on the U.S. Ski Team that would be notable, but no great surprise. But that Tate is breaking out as the best young golfer in Montana, that is really something.

Yesterday, Tatom led the Lone Peak High School golf team to its second consecutive Montana Class C state championship and won his third consecutive individual title as a junior.

The Big Horns vaulted from runners-up in 2012 to state champions last spring in just their second season as a varsity program. Their stay at the top is assured for at least another year: The Big Horns shaved 13 strokes off their Day 1 tally at Seeley Swan’s Double Arrow Golf Course, and on the strength of three All-State individual performances coasted to another title.
Steady Tate Tatom led the way once more. The talented junior, who won every event he entered during the regular season, was two shots off the pace Tuesday but shook off some reservations on the greens to climb the leaderboard with a tournament-best, 1-under-par 71. He clinched medalist honors for the third consecutive season with a two-day total of 145, nine better than Seeley Swan’s Micah Nicholas and Chinook’s Lane Seymour.
“Tuesday was fresh in their memory, and they were very prepared to go out and try to take care of business,” King said. “Fortunately, it worked out.“This is such a source of pride for the school, a young school. The team is really proud of the fact that they can kind of step up and be the athletic leader for not only other teams, but for kids coming up; they want to create a legacy for golf even though it is in a very unlikely place to have a good team.”
Just how unlikely is it?  Look at today's early evening webcam picture of Mountain Village at the base of Lone Peak mountain in Big Sky. 

That white stuff down the mountain and across the rooftops -- that's snow.
Big Sky golf course, home of Tate Tatom's Lone Peak High School golf team, is located a few miles further down the mountain.  It boasts:
Combine classic links-style golf and the stunning natural beauty of Big Sky country to witness a golf experience like no other: the award winning, scenic 18 hole par 72 golf course at Big Sky Resort. The Arnold Palmer course is 6,500 feet above sea level, offering longer drives and spectacular views.
Winding along the wildlife-rich banks of the West Fork of the scenic Gallatin River, you tee up with beaver, deer and moose as your gallery. 
Big Sky golf course is opening the season for play tomorrow (May 23, 2014), two days after the high school golf season came to an end.
No course, no problem -- they have a barn.

April 3, 2014 Posted by TALLEN in LOCALSPORTSYOUTH
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Big Horn golf swinging for another successful season

By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Associate Editor
BIG SKY – Snow may still blanket its home course fairways, but the Lone Peak High School boys’ golf team has begun its title defense in earnest. The Big Horns won last year’s Class C state championship in the program’s second year of existence, while the girls hope to improve on last season’s encouraging results.
Without a single outdoor practice, the team traveled to Missoula for their first competition April 3-4 at the Loyola Sacred Heart Invitational, after EBS went to press April 2. Formal preparation for the season began March 19 as the team began hitting balls into the net and practicing their putts on AstroTurf, in a barn in Beaver Creek West.
“We’d love to be outside but it’s just not an option,” Head Coach Mike King said of the wintry conditions in Big Sky. “[It’ll] probably be a month until we see grass on our course. It’s a challenge, typically we’re ending the season about the time our course is opening.”

Tate Tatom won in Townsend and Missoula.

LPHS golfers off to promising start

By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Associate Editor
TOWNSEND, MISSOULA – Last year’s Class C individual state champ Tate Tatom is off to a hot start to the 2014 golf season.
The Lone Peak High School junior finished first at the Old Baldy Golf Course in Townsend on April 15, shooting a 3-over-par 75. This was his second win in as many events, taking the individual title at the Loyola Sacred Heart Invitational April 3 and 4.
The LPHS boys didn't have enough players to compete as a team in Townsend, but the girls took home their second third-place finish of the season, behind Townsend and Three Forks. The boys’ teams from Townsend, Manhattan and Three Forks finished first through third, respectively.
“The golf course was playing very difficult due to the greens being very dry and fast,” LPHS Head Coach Mike King said of the conditions at Old Baldy. “Combined with the fact that the greens are all really small and crowned at the edges, it made hitting [them] difficult. Throw in temps in the mid-40s with clouds and 25-mph winds… scoring conditions were quite challenging.”
At the Loyola Sacred Heart Invitational in Missoula – played at Larchmont Golf Course and Missoula Country Club – the Big Horn boys finished in second place out of 10 teams, 17 shots ahead of third place Thompson Falls.
Lone Peak was sitting atop the leaderboard after the first round, three strokes ahead of perennial powerhouse and host Loyola Sacred Heart. But Loyola took advantage of their home course and charged back in the second round, cruising to a 30-shot team win.
Tatom shot a 4-under-par 68 to take a sizeable 10-shot lead after day one. He followed that up with an even-par 71 second round to win the individual title by 14 shots. Tatom was joined by Trevor House, Griffin House and Charlie Johnson in the second-place team effort.
Tatom waited out a morning snowfall to rout the field at my home course Cottonwood Hills.

LPHS boys’ golf win Cottonwood event, girls finish fourth

By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Associate Editor
FOUR CORNERS – The Lone Peak High School boys’ golf team battled through cold and wind on April 29 during the Manhattan Christian Invitational at Cottonwood Hills Golf Course to finish with an overall victory. The LPHS girls had the best Class C team score and ended up fourth overall.
“The [weather] made for tough scoring conditions,” head coach Mike King said. “Everyone was wearing several layers of clothing.”
The Big Horns are getting used to tough golfing conditions this season. Their home turf – Big Sky Resort’s golf course – has been unplayable so far, but they’ve excelled in the cold.
Junior Tate Tatom continues to roll, with a third consecutive individual first place finish to start the season. Tatom shot a 1-over-par 73 to win by four shots, while Junior Trevor House shot a 79 to end up fourth.

May 16, 2014 Posted by TALLEN in LOCALSPORTSYOUTH
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LPHS golfers streaking into state tourney

By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Associate Editor
The Lone Peak High School golf teams hope to ride the momentum of a strong season into the state championships May 21-22 at Double Arrow Golf Course in Seeley Lake. The tournament is a chance for the boys to defend last year’s Class C title, and an opportunity for the girls to make a splash on the big stage.
Aside from a second-place finish at the Loyola Sacred Heart Invitational, the boys have won every official event at which they’ve had a full squad in 2014. Tate Tatom continued his torrid pace with individual victories at Ennis on May 3 and the Three Forks Invitational on May 8.
The LPHS girls notched a fourth-place finish at Three Forks, and head coach Mike King thinks they’re playing well enough to be in the top flight at states.
On Monday, May 12 the teams had a chance to scout Double Arrow after a scheduled event was cancelled there May 6. Having been hammered by heavy winter and spring snow, it’s playing a lot like the links in Big Sky, according to King.
Going into the season, the Long Peak High School golf coach was prescient. He nailed it.
Posted: Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:54 pm
A word of caution for the rest of the state: King is convinced Tatom, who is already being courted by colleges across the country — Air Force, Michigan and Harvard, among others — has substantially improved his game.

“He added 15 pounds of muscle; he’s bigger, stronger, and is hitting the ball straighter and farther,” King said. “I watched him inside hitting balls and on a simulator — it’s really about as close as you can get to seeing what balls are doing — and his consistency right now is much better than it was last year. I have to keep reminding myself he’s just a junior, … but I would be very surprised if he didn’t finish first in every event that he played in and repeated as state champion.
We will continue to watch this golfer grow, though I have heard a rumor that he may be headed down to Texas to refine his game and solidify an opportunity to play in a Division 1 college program.  Time will tell.

The Class C State Champion Big Horns last year in Ennis. From left to right: Trevor House, Griffin House, individual champ Tate Tatom, Quinn House and Charlie Johnson. PHOTO BY MIKE KING, explorebig\sky.

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