Fargo North’s Hannestad takes a big lead as Red River finds itself in a tight team race after Day 1 at the State Golf Meet – Grand Forks Herald

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GRAND FORKS – Day 1 of the North Dakota Class A State boys golf meet was a tough Tuesday at King’s Walk.

At least that’s how Lucas Schoepp of Bismarck Century described it. For Fargo North’s Carson Hannestad, it was a delight.

Through persistent rain and gusty winds, the senior Spartan shot a 68 and led the tournament through 18 holes at four under par.

Hannestad started with the top seeds on the front nine, went bogey-free and is five strokes ahead of the field heading into Wednesday’s final round.

“On a day like today, a par is a great score on any hole,” Hannestad said. “So I think the biggest thing for me was just staying consistent on the fairway, hitting the green and leaving the ball there and making an easy par.”

The East region is now used to playing at King’s Walk. Wednesday is the fourth round of the links style course. To gain an edge over the competition, the Spartans made practice timeouts in the rain to simulate tournament conditions. It paid off for Hannestad during Round 1, he said.

“Coach (Mike) Dobberstein is doing a great job preparing us,” Hannestad said. “He let us go out and play in the rain, and he does a great job of preparing us for situations like this, so props to him for that.”

He birdied two of his first three holes and started the theme of collecting greens in regulation. On most holes, Hannestad put himself in situations where he could maintain par with a layup. In crucial situations he was able to knock down birdie putts, such as on holes 1 and 15, the latter being a long look outside 15 feet.

Even in recovery situations he came out on top. On Par 5 No. 9, a key wedge shot set up Hannestad for his third birdie on the front nine.

“I was quite close to the water on my approach shot, but ended up getting a pretty lucky break. I was able to put it close for a tap for birdie.” he said.

Synonymous with the consistency on the scorecard was Hannestad’s level-headedness. Whether faced with rain or a rare calm in the air, he went after each hole and shot individually.

Hannestad has the same mentality as he will look to maintain his lead on Day 2.

“It’s kind of like a basketball game in the state tournament. You just have to go to the next game at zero-zero. Try not to think about it too much and just keep playing. Let the game come to you,” said Hannestad.

The Spartans are in the middle of a hard-fought team race. Two of Hannestad’s teammates, Cole Kinsella and Eric DeBoer, shot 80s with reverse-looking scorecards, as the former shot 37 on the front nine with a birdie on three and the latter shot 39 on the back nine.

The Spartans are shooting 312 points as a team and are one stroke behind leaders Bismarck Century and Grand Forks Red River. Minot North is four shots off that pace, while West Fargo Sheyenne and Fargo Davies have matching 319s.

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Red River’s Kolby Koerner tees off at #8 on King’s Walk during the first day of the ND State Golf tournament Tuesday,

Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Top seeds in East and West collide

The Patriots and Roughriders leaders had strong plays in different parts of the course. Schoepp and Red River’s Kolby Koerner were the top scorers for their respective teams, combining for seven birdies on the day.

Koerner remained second for most of the day. After a bogey on the 2nd hole, he responded by narrowly missing an eagle putt on the 535-yard Par 5 No. 3. Like Hannestad, he was able to get his greens in regulation and save missed putts with pars.

“If you kick yourself every time, you’re not going to three-putt much. You just have to keep it simple. If you don’t three-putt, the scores go down,” Koerner said after his 74.

He hit another birdie on Par 4 No. 7. After the turn, he arrived on the 12th green with a locked approach just below the hole. He converted for birdie and sat just -2, one behind Hannestad after 12.

Then a missed green on the next hole, Par 3 No. 13, and a missed putt on the long 420-yard Par 4 No. 15 put him back on level terms. He could have finished the day second, but had a double-bogey seven on 18.

“I know the job isn’t done. I will feel better tomorrow when we have the trophy in our hands, but we have to come out and do right what we did wrong today,” Koerner said.

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Bismarck Century’s Parker Beck shoots out of a sand trap at #7 on King’s Walk during the ND State Golf Tournament on Tuesday.

Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Schoepp was +2 through the turn when he was able to find fairways and make his approaches a little easier. Back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14 put him back on par. Another birdie on the 18th corrected back-to-back bogeys on 16 and 17 to finish with a 73 on the day.

“Tee shots were a little wild today, but knowing I could get it on the green and it was only two putts par was everything for me today,” he said.

Another Patriot who could improve his play in the back half was Parker Beck. He birdied No. 2 but shot 40 through nine before scoring seven pars. Aidan Kaufman came on the turn with a 41 and made it a 78 with six pars and a birdie on 17.

Similar depth was seen for Red River. Ross Koerner made every par putt after No. 12, drew a 38 on the back nine and is now just +6. Jordan Peters shot his second 79 of the season, including a 39 front nine and a clutch birdie on 17. Carter Olson started with a 39 and a birdie on Par 5 No. 14 to card an 80.

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Charlie Solberg of Fargo Davies smiles as he straightens his cart as his mother, Char Solberg, stands ready with dry towels at No. 9 on King’s Walk during the first day of the ND state tournament. Jamestown golfer Hunter Gegelman looks on.

Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Fargo Davies started the day on the back nine and leaders Charlie Solberg and Porter Seidel were neck-and-neck. They shot 75s and are tied for fifth.

Seidel consistently opened his day with birdie responses to bogeys on holes 12 and 15. He was just +1 and two bogeys would boost that. However, seven pars on the back nine kept him in good standing. Solberg was one of a handful of contenders to knock down a birdie putt on the Par 3 No. 8. He would also birdie Par 3 No. 13.

“I had to slow down a bit after the first few holes,” Solberg said. “If you have a 10-footer and the wind is blowing and the ball is shaking, it’s pretty tough.”

Shanley trio Tommy Baumgartner, Aaron Olsonawski and Zach Skarperud got off to a good start. They were all looking at 37’s or 38’s on the front nine but were having trouble making the turn.

Another hot start came from Bismarck High’s Tyrus Jangula. He birdied his opening hole, bogeyed No. 2 and then immediately birdied three. He would stay -1 through six, eventually finishing with an 80.

Central’s Cole Wilber and Ryder Rivard are in the Top 20 with a 77 and 79 respectively. Wilber, who just won an EDC medal at King’s Walk last week, totaled 12 pars that day.

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Grand Forks Central’s Brady Fee gets out of trouble during King’s Walk Tuesday.

Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald