SHELBY — The Rocky Mountain College golf teams opened the new season with a sweep of both team titles at the MSU Northern Invitational that was played at the Marias Valley Golf and Country Club on Sunday and Monday.
The Rocky men — currently receiving votes in the NAIA Preseason Coaches’ Poll — trailed by nine strokes entering the final round of action on Monday. The Battlin’ Bears shot 281 to close the event and rallied for a three-shot victory over Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).
On the women’s side, No. 23 Rocky Mountain held a 15-shot lead after a 325 during Sunday’s first round. The Battlin’ Bears secured the victory by shooting 304 on Monday for a total of 629.
Michael Tait led the way for the men’s comeback with his third-round 66.
The low round of the tournament allowed Tait to make up seven strokes and tie Sean Benson of Montana Tech for the top of the individual leader board.
Tait finished 5-under par despite shooting a 6-over 78 during Sunday’s first round. He bounced back with a 67 during round two, the second lowest round of the week.
Benson, from Billings, earned medalist honors by defeating Tait on the first playoff hole.
Colton Murphy had matching rounds of 76 during the two round on Monday. He came back with a 2-under 70 on Tuesday to finish fifth with 222 strokes. His third-round score was tied for the second-best round of the day behind Tait’s 66.
The Rocky women had four players finish in the top eight. Eryn Ellis finished second after a 3-over 147 during the 36 holes. Ellis shot the lowest round of the tournament by any player with a 70 during Monday’s second round.
Morgan O’Neil finished third with 158 strokes.
Gina Kowolchuk from University of Providence was the women’s individual medalist after shooting 146.