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Hannah Zwemke

Hannah Zwemke of Billings finished second overall and earned a spot on Montana's Junior America's Cup team with her play Tuesday at Laurel Golf Club.

LAUREL -- Teigan Avery and Ryggs Johnston walked away from Laurel Golf Club with a handful of trophies and the title of overall state champion.

For the 16-year-old Avery, who is from Kalispell, it was her second consecutive overall crown at the Montana State Golf Association State Junior Championships, which wrapped up on Tuesday afternoon.

Johnston, who is from Libby and just turned 14, was more of a surprise winner in topping a field of older players for his first championship.

"It just feels good," the 5-foot-11, 120-pound eighth grader said. "Any win feels good."

Johnston shot a final round of 3-over-par 75 and finished at 5-over 149 to claim the state title in the 14-15 age division along with his overall accolades.

"Consistent," he said of his performance over the two days. "I didn't make any doubles. I limited my mistakes. That's probably what did it for me."

Avery's final round was a little tougher, finishing with a 5-over 77 and 36-hole total of 6-over 150. Despite issues with a wayward driver, she still won her 16-17 age category for her sixth State Juniors title, in addition to finishing atop the entire field.

"Today didn't go as planned," she noted afterward. "I started out with a double, then on my third hole I got another double, but I just calmed myself down and I fought through it and I got two nice birdies (on Nos. 18 and 9)."

Johnston won his overall title by two strokes over Payton Stott of Billings and Caleb Stetzner of Anaconda. Avery prevailed by eight strokes over Hannah Zwemke of Billings and Coral Schulz of Helena.

A field of 95 boys and girls tried their luck on the fast greens at Laurel. They were divided up into three age groups: 13-under, 14-15 and 16-17.

Besides Johnston and Avery, the age-group champions included Stott (16-17), Paul O'Neil of Laurel (13-under), Catrina Babinecz of Great Falls (14-15) and Tricia Joyce of Butte (13-under).

Stott, 16, had won the 13-under title a few years ago, while Joyce, 13, repeated as the girls 13-under winner. Babinecz won a scorecard playoff to beat her twin sister, Casey, while O'Neil, 13, was a first-time champion playing on his home course.

The top golfers, boys and girls ages 14 and up, also earned berths on the state's Junior America's Cup teams.

Johnston, Stott, Stetzner and Cody Babinecz of Great Falls will represent Montana in Vancouver, British Columbia, July 29-31.

The girls team will consist of Avery, Zwemke, Schulz and Butte's Shealyn Hafer and will play in Walla Walla, Wash., July 29-31.

Stott, who edged out Stetzner on a scorecard playoff by shooting a 36 on the back nine on Tuesday, can't wait for his first America's Cup competition.

"I hope to be right up there with the best players," he said.

The 17-year-old Zwemke, who birdied her final hole and tied Avery for the best round on Tuesday at 77, will be appearing in her second America's Cup. She played last year in Albuquerque, N.M.

"It's going to be amazing," she said. "Last year was so cool. It's such an eye-opener. Those girls (who qualify) have played forever, and you get to play courses you might never get to play."

The state tournament also determined Montana's team for the annual Montana/Alberta Junior Ryder Cup competition, set for Aug. 11-13 in Whitefish.

The top players, ages 17, 16 and 15, both boys and girls, received invitations.

That group included Cody Babinecz, Stetzner, Stott, Johnston, Austin Walter of Billings and Caleb Trost of Billings. On the girls side, Avery, Hafer, Schulz, Catrina Babinecz, Casey Babinecz and Kortney McNeil of Billings have indicated they will be playing.