LINCOLN — Carson Schaake heard the clubhouse talk blowing with the wind around the Highlands Golf Course.
“Before I teed off, people were saying even par is going to be a really, really good score today,'' the Omaha Creighton Prep junior said. “When I started with a birdie on the second hole, I wanted to keep going.”
Schaake returned to the clubhouse with a 3-under-par 69. He was one of five golfers to break par 72 in Tuesday's first round of the Class A boys golf state tournament. Clayton Peterson of Lincoln Southeast shot 70, with Mitch Ryan of defending team champion Millard North, Garrett Morehead of Bellevue West and Trey Petitt of Lincoln East carding 71s.
Prep led Southeast by 13 strokes entering today's final round. Alex Pieper shot 74, Stephen Pfeffer 75, Andrew Hansen 76 and Nick Kravchuk 78.
The Junior Jays haven't been golf champions since 2006 and a title would be the school's third of the spring. Prep also won Class A boys soccer and baseball titles.
“I'm happy with the resilience of the team,'' coach Morgan Helton said. “They maintained their focus. They didn't leak oil.”
As for Schaake's round, Helton said, “That was something else. And he told me he let a couple shots get away.
“Carson has been consistently good this season. I wouldn't say this was his best round under the conditions because I don't think we've seen that yet from him.”
Schaake said he's more confident with his putting than at last week's district tournament, when he three-putted six times and still shot a 3-under 69 at Holmes Park in Lincoln. He said for state he brought out a putter he used last summer.
Peterson had his best round of the season. He made six birdies, two more than Schaake, but also had four bogeys.
“I didn't hit it that well, but I putted very good,'' he said. “I was 2 over after three, but I fought back with some birdies.”
Morehead, a sophomore, holed his approach shot from 105 yards on the 18th hole for an eagle that got him under par. Petitt parred the final 11 holes. Ryan, who shot 67 at Highlands last month to win the Capitol City Invitational, had all of his birdies and bogeys between the fifth and 13th holes.
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Rudder, McGowan tied in Class B
KEARNEY, Neb. — Max Rudder of Norris and Ian McGowan of Crete tied for the first-round lead in the Class B tournament after shooting 74s at windy Meadowlark Hills.
“Oh man, it's really windy out here. Conditions are really tough and the greens are really fast,” said Tanner Johnson of Broken Bow, whose 81 keeps him in medal contention after he was seventh in 2011. “The wind affects a lot of shots and if you hit one high it's just going to stay in the air forever and you lose control of your shot.”
Aurora and Norris shot 331s to share the opening-day lead. It's the final tournament for Aurora coach Dick Binfield, who's retiring at the end of the school year.
Aurora never has been champion. Crete's only title was 50 years ago.
— Dennis Driscoll
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Klooz leads Class C
KEARNEY — Plainview's Mitchell Klooz is sitting comfortably, for now.
After Tuesday's first round of the Class C tournament at Kearney Country Club, the 2011 winner shot a 3-under-par 68, the only score under par, to be five strokes ahead of Gibbon sophomore Rylee Reinertson. Klooz had four birdies and only one bogey.
Klooz was only two strokes ahead until Reinertson dropped three strokes to the leader over the final four holes to go from 1 under to 2 over. Reinertson worked to salvage a bogey on the 17th after hitting his second shot out-of-bounds on the par 5.
“It was a tough shot. There wasn't much room for error,” Reinertson said. “I played aggressive with a lower left hook shot and I kind of just left it out there.”
Reid Wiebe's 3-over 74 paced Sutton as the Mustangs took the team lead with a 313, seven strokes better than Kearney Catholic.
— Jason Arens
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Red Hornets lead Class D
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — Grand Island Heartland Lutheran's coach won't get his wish for Wednesday's final round of the Class D tournament.
“I was kind of hoping they wouldn't be in the lead, so it would push them a little,” Daniel Bremer said. “But they're going to be pushed enough, and I'll do my fair share of pushing. We thought 340 might do it, so we're very pleased with our score knowing that we have to do it tomorrow again.”
The Red Hornets took a five-stroke lead on Friend and six on Bancroft-Rosalie at River's Edge Golf Club.
Heartland Lutheran's Sam Simonson was the first-round individual leader with a 6-over 76.
— Mark Obermeier