Third-year coach Emily Milberger
July 11, 2013
Since September 1997, which was the last time the Montana golf team played in a tournament in Missoula, the rest of the Griz programs have competed at home more than 1,000 times in regular-season and postseason events.
That trend will come to an end in early September when the Griz golf program hosts the Montana Invitational at the Missoula Country Club. It will be the first home event for the program since the final Montana Fall Classic was held at the Missoula Country Club 16 years ago.
"I was passionate about setting up a home tournament because it's an experience that every athlete should be able to enjoy, and the golf team wasn't getting that opportunity," UM coach Emily Milberger said.
"It's really going to be exciting for our girls to compete on their home course in front of their families and friends and the community. It's been too long since the community has been able to see the Griz golf team play an event in Missoula."
The two-day, three-round tournament will take place Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 9-10, with 36 holes being played the first day, 18 more the second. Teams will play a practice round on Sunday afternoon.
In keeping with the spirit of the tournament, there will be no charge for spectators.
"We're really looking forward to the community getting involved with this event," Milberger said. "We already have an overload of people who are interested in volunteering, so it already feels like there is an excitement surrounding the event.
"There is not going to be an admission fee, so people can come out and watch as much golf as they'd like. The course is going to be very open to spectators, which will really allow us to showcase the talent we have in our program and also showcase the level of talent that's in women's collegiate golf."
The tournament will feature seven teams, four of them from Montana. In addition to the Grizzlies, Montana State will compete, as will teams from Carroll and Rocky Mountain. The out-of-state programs will be Alabama-Birmingham, Texas-Pan American and the University of British Columbia.
"We have six teams traveling to play in this first year of the tournament, with a lot of good representation from Montana as well as from around the country," Milberger said.
"Tournaments usually take a few years to get fully rolling, because so much of it depends on scheduling and timing conflicts with the other established tournaments that are out there. But getting these teams to Missoula this year will help spread the word and get other teams interested in coming next year."
The Grizzly Invitational is the first of four fall tournaments for Montana, which will be in its third season under Milberger in 2013-14. The Grizzlies will play tournaments at Pullman, Wash.; Aurora, Ore.; and Palm Desert, Calif.; in September and October.
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