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Things couldn’t have been gone much better Monday for Racine County’s boys high school golfers in the first round at the WIAA State Tournament.

The Division 1 leaderboard has a definite county flavor, with four players sitting in the top 10 and Waterford tied for third in the team standings at University Ridge Golf Course in Verona.

In Division 3, Prairie’s top three players shot 81 or better and the Hawks are third at 326, nine strokes behind leader Lancaster. St. Catherine’s led the division for part of the first round, but had a rough back nine and fell back to fourth at 330.

Sturtevant resident Kaylor Steger led the way for the county contingent. Aided by seven birdies, the Oak Creek High School senior shot a 4-under-par 68 and is the leader by one stroke after the

first round.

Not far behind are three other county players. Case juniors Ricky Kuiper and Eric Van Tubbergen shot 72 and 73, respectively, and Burlington junior Brian Dankle shot 74 and are all in the top 10 going into the second and final round Tuesday.

The Wolverines also had a strong day, grouping their five scores within eight strokes of each other and tying for third place with Green Bay Notre Dame at 313 going into the final round. Senior Zach Nash led the way with a 76 and fellow seniors Garrett Buri and Grant Beck shot 77s. Case is 10th in the team standings at 326.

Steger started his round on the back nine. After a bogey on the 10th hole, he ran off three straight birdies on holes 11 through 13. He bogeyed 18 to finish his first nine with a 35.

On the front nine, he had back-to-back birdies on holes 1-2 and 6-7, with one bogey in between for a 33 and a one-shot lead over Bennett Hutson of Onalaska and Dylan Patscot of Kettle Moraine.

“I hit my driver well,” Steger said. “I’ve been striking the ball pretty well the last week or so.”

Kuiper is tied for fourth with his even-par round and Van Tubbergen is eighth with his 73.

Kuiper, making his first appearance at state after a couple near misses, got rolling on the back nine. He just missed a 3-foot birdie putt on the par-4 first hole and shot 37 on the front nine, then found a groove on the back nine. Kuiper had four birdies on the back, on holes 10, 13, 15 and 16, to get to 3-under for the day.

He finished double bogey-bogey on his last two holes, needing two shots to get out of a bunker on the par-3 17th hole and three-putting for bogey on the par-4 18th.

All in all, though, Kuiper was satisfied.

“I scrambled on the front, but on the back nine I turned it on,” Kuiper said. “After 16, I thought I would be right up there, but fourth is a pretty good spot.”

Van Tubbergen, who went to state as an individual last year and finished at 178, nearly matched Kuiper in his round of 73. Van Tubbergen got off to an inauspicious start, battling his nerves and three-putting the first hole for a double bogey 6. He had a birdie on the par-4 seventh hole and shot 38 on the front, and got his game going on the back with three birdies, although he had a double bogey on 18.

“Last year was good experience for me,” Van Tubbergen said. “I knew the course a lot better and wanted to go out there and shoot a good round. One I got (the first hole) out of the way, I kicked it into gear.”

Case’s No. 3 player, senior Sam Glennon, shot 78 to help their cause.

“Ricky had just three bad shots,” Case coach Jerry Kupper said. “He easily could have been at 4-under.

“Eric started with a double, but played real well. Golf is a confidence game and once he got rolling, he hit a lot of good shots.”

Waterford coach Mike Harmeling couldn’t have been more pleased with his team’s round. The Wolverines matched their best score of the season under the pressure of the state tournament, although Nash and Beck had rough finishes. Nash was at even par through 16 holes, but shot back-to-back double bogeys on 17 and 18. Beck finished double bogey-bogey.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better way to start,” Harmeling said. “We put ourselves in a good position, although we gave some shots away. The good thing is the kids left some shots out there and that will be good motivation for (Tuesday).”

Dankle four-putted the first hole for a triple bogey 7 and missed a four-foot birdie putt on the second hole, but righted the ship and was 1-under the rest of the way for his 74, which is tied for ninth. His round included three birdies.

“Brian’s round started a bit rough,” Burlington coach Bill Berkholtz said. “It was a great day. He is ready and more relaxed for (Tuesday).”

In Division 3, it was a mixed bag for Prairie. Senior Connor Cain (38) and junior PJ Munro (37) shot well on the front nine and Cain shot 40 on the back for a 78 to tie for seventh. Munro had 49 on the back.

Senior Michael O’Brien and sophomore Ben Sellers shot 81s and Munro shot 86 for the Hawks.

St. Catherine’s senior Adam Gabbey had the best score among county golfers with a 5-over 77 to tie for fourth going into the final round. Senior Dino Dominici and freshman Jack O’Brien each had a quadruple bogey on the 16th hole and both shot 84s. Sophomore Ryan Busey shot an 85 for the Angels.

Prairie and St. Catherine’s play in the same group Tuesday morning for the final round.

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Catholic Central junior Jeff Stemper shot an 85 in his first state appearance.

_______

WIAA State Tournament

At University Ridge G.C., par-72

DIVISION 1

TEAM SCORES: 1. Mequon Homestead 308; 2. Eau Claire Memorial 310; 3. (tie) Green Bay Notre Dame, Waterford 313; 5. Milw. Marquette 316; 6. Eau Claire North 318; 7. (tie) Neenah, Appleton East 320; 9. Middleton 321; 10. Case 326; 11. (tie) Brookfield Central, DeForest 333; 13. Holmen 335; 14. Slinger 336; 15. Fort Atkinson 342; 16. Kenosha Tremper 361.

TOP 6 INDIVIDUALS: 1. Steger, Oak Creek, 68; 2. (tie) Hutson, Onalaska and Patscot, Kettle Moraine, 69; 4. (tie) Kuiper, Case; Maleki, Homestead; Sicula, Whitefish Bay; Wajda, Brookfield Central, 72.

WATERFORD: Nash 76, Buri 77, Beck 77, Puetz 84, Maney 83.

CASE: Kuiper 72, Van Tubbergen 73, Glennon 78, Esme 103, Emmons 106.

BURLINGTON: Dankle 74.

Tuesday's tee times

First tee

BURLINGTON: Dankle 12:09 p.m., OAK CREEK: Steger 12:18 p.m.

WATERFORD: Maney 1:12 p.m., Puetz 1:21 p.m., Beck 1:30 p.m.; Buri 1:39 p.m., Nash 1:48 p.m.

10th tee

CASE: Emmons 1:12 p.m., Esme 1:21 p.m., Glennon 1:30 p.m.; Van Tubbergen 1:39 p.m., Kuiper 1:48 p.m.

DIVISION 3

TEAM SCORES: 1. Lancaster 317; 2. Osseo-Fairchild 325; 3. Prairie 326; 4. St. Catherine’s 330; 5. Chippewa Falls McDonell Central 339; 6. Eleva-Strum 357; 7. Marinette St. Thomas Aquinas 379; 8. Crandon 387.

TOP 6 INDIVIDUALS: 1. Longbella, McDonell Central, 69; 2. Treichel, Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs, 72; 3. Hentrich, Lancaster, 74; 4. (tie) Gabbey, St. Catherine’s; Gates, Lancaster, 77; Seig, Osseo-Fairchild, 77.

PRAIRIE: M. O’Brien 81, Cain 78, Chapman 87, Munro 86, Sellers 81.

ST. CATHERINE’S: Gabbey 77, Dominici 84, Dorlack 88, J. O’Brien 84, Busey 85.

CATHOLIC CENTRAL: Stemper 85.

Tuesday's tee times

10th tee

CATHOLIC CENTRAL: Stemper 7:09 a.m.

PRAIRIE: Sellers 8:12 a.m., Munro 8:21 a.m., Chapman 8:30 a.m., Cain 8:39 a.m., M. O’Brien 8:48 a.m.

ST. CATHERINE’S: Busey 8:12 a.m., J. O’Brien 8:21 a.m., Dorlack 8:30 a.m., Dominici 8:39 a.m., Gabbey 8:48 a.m.

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