BUTTE — Earlier this week, Montana Tech’s Sean Benson won the Frontier Conference golf title. But for Benson, that win meant more than just the championship recognition.
“It was a ton of emotions. I was kind of walking around looking at the last little three-footer reading it from the backside. Right then and there, you got five putts from here and you still win,” said Benson.
Benson was cool, calm and collected to the final putt of the Frontier championship. Being the only golfer to shoot under par all three days put Benson in control of his own fate.
“A seven-shot lead is one of the largest leads I’ve ever had going into the last day, and I felt really comfortable with that,” said Benson. “I had a number in my head, which was 70, and I knew the next closest guy was going to force him to shoot a 63, which is doable for the players in this conference. But that’s a very tough number to hit on that golf course.”
Benson would deliver and sink the winning putt that would make him the first-ever Montana Tech golfer to win a Frontier individual title.
“It was a lot of fun to watch the team be excited for Sean, for the teams to be excited for another,” said interim coach Sean Ryan. “And then to have that finally capped off on the 18th hole was really something. It was the culmination of what has been a great career for Sean, and he gets to continue it at the national tournament.”
With every step Benson took, he felt a familiar presence right by his side. Tech golf coach Lee LaBreche passed away in February at the age of 55.
“I’m kind of holding back tears at that point in time, because I wish he was there to watch it. But also at the same time, I’m extremely happy because this is a goal I’ve had for such a long time,” said Benson.
“I can’t even imagine how much fun Lee was having watching Sean putt out. I know Lee was there, I could feel it, we all could feel it. You could just feel the emotion and the excitement. The Kahuna, he was there rooting on the Diggers,” Ryan added.
The team donned their Lee LaBreche pins and hats. Before the tournament teed off, every team held a moment of silence for the Big Kahuna.
As the Sean Benson chapter closes for Montana Tech golf, the future has never looked brighter.
“It’s very exciting seeing it turn the corner and go from a sport at Montana Tech to a sport that can compete for the Frontier Conference championship here at this school,” said Ryan.