Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Alex Kuhn
Sports Editor 

Big Horn Basin Junior Tour caps off successful first year

Vail repeats as City Champion; Schroefel wins women's division


August 10, 2017

COURTESY/ Mike Propp

Big Horn Basin Junior Tour golfers are honored for their hard work at Green Hill Golf Course on Aug. 3.

WORLAND - The Big Horn Basin Junior Golf Tour completed a successful inaugural season with the championship tournament at the Green Hill Golf Course on August 3.

Youth golfers competed in tournament in Thermopolis, Powell and Cody before closing out the season in Worland.

"It went well for its first year and something we're for sure going to do again next year," said Green Hills PGA head golf professional Mike Propp about the Tour's first season.

For the Tour's opening season Propp, along with the golf pros in Cody, Powell and Thermopolis, wanted to focus on building a solid foundation, which is what they were able to achieve.

When the Tour started in Thermopolis around 20 golfers competed, by the time the championship tournament rolled around that number increased to 40.

"It was really a building year as far as getting a platform, but overall it was met with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement, and a lot of people already talking about next year," said Propp.

"On our end we didn't know what to expect, and I think we'll have bigger numbers next year, but we ended up having around 20 kids to start. Then for our Tour championship we had 40 kids for the final event ... That was nice to see it grow as we worked through the tour and it was just a great thing to see all the kids out there competing."

At the end of the Tour an overall champion would be crowned as long as the golfer met the requirement of competing in three of the four tournaments. Each golfer started with five points for competing in a tournament, nine points for a first-place finish, six for a second-place finish and three for a third-place finish.

The winners for the four age divisions were Bolen Barthelmess (7-8, Worland), Brynlee Birch (9-10, Cody), Hadley Johnson (11-13, Thermopolis) and Carter Schutzman (14-17, Cody).


Shooting a 71 and falling a bit behind after the first round of the Worland City Championship, Jeff Vail stormed back in the second round with a 66. Vail was then able to beat Chris Bundren and youth standout golfer Karsten Simmons in a playoff to win the tournament, successfully defending last year's championship.

On the women's side Sarah Schroefel, who will be continuing her collegiate career at MSU-B, was the tournament champion shooting a 76-77.

The exciting finish on the men's side generated a lot of buzz out at Green Hills Golf Course, but it was the play of Simmons, who celebrated his 14th birthday this summer, that had everyone talking.

"I've been at this a long time. I've been a member of the PGA for nearly 25 years, I don't want to make more of it and I don't want to make less of it than it already is, but I don't personally know of any kid that's done what he's done at his age anywhere," said Propp of Simmons' performance.

Going against more seasoned golfers Simmons was able to shoot a 66 in the first round and a 71 in the second. Then in the playoff against Vail just missed on a short putt that cost him the championship.

"He shot a two-day total of 7-under par and I have not seen that anywhere," said Propp.

"I was out there during the playoff, and he lost the playoff by missing a short putt, and for a kid that age to tie in regulation then to go to the playoff, and to have the size of the gallery we had, it did not faze him. He didn't miss a beat. It was one of the more impressive things I've seen in golf. Along with everyone that witnessed it, I was in awe."

With the excellent golf that was played by both the men and women, Propp was understandably still thrilled about the level of play at Green Hill over the weekend.

"The golf was incredible and it was just a great weekend out here, we were really excited. There was a lot of good golf played but Karsten stood out amongst the group," said Propp.


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