WAHPETON, N.D. — After being unable to hold a first-day lead at last season's North Dakota Class A state boys golf tournament, Fargo Davies players and coaches are understandably eager to bury the memories of previous tournaments.
"Different year, different team," Eagles head coach Adam Gronaas said. "We've left that in the past."
While it remains to be seen if they can close this season, the Eagles again find themselves in great position after the first day of this tournament.
Max Karnik shot a team-best 72, and Davies jumped out to a four-stroke lead over two-time defending champion Grand Forks Red River in state play Tuesday at the Bois de Sioux Golf Course.
The Eagles finished with a score of 293, 9-over-par. One stroke behind Red River in third is Grand Forks Central, which shot a 298. West Fargo (304) and West Fargo Sheyenne (312), round out the all-East top five.
Playing in his first state tournament, Karnik finished the day two shots behind leader Cole Hanson of Central. Initially nervous, Karnik says it didn't take long for him to find his groove in the biggest tournament of his prep career.
“I was honestly hoping to just play the game the way I’m supposed to," he said. "I just walked in and said, ‘Let’s just play my best today,’ and it just worked out. I just had to buckle down and get the job done.”
Ethan Olson, who earned medalist honors at last week's East Region Tournament, and Sam Suppes both shot 73 for the Eagles, with Ty Satter completing the scoring with a 75.
The Eagles, naturally, are hoping for a better second day this season than last. Holding a six-stroke lead over the Roughriders after Day 1, Davies had just the sixth-best score of Day 2 and finished 12 strokes off the lead.
"Obviously, you have to go play well two days in a row," Gronaas said. "There’s a lot of good teams out here, a lot of good players. It’s not done by any means.”
With a high amount of roster turnover from a season ago, golfers on Fargo Davies say their focus is entirely on finishing Wednesday and bringing home their first state championship.
“Only two of us are returning from that team," Olson said. "I don’t think anyone’s thinking about (last year). Day 1 lead is good for any tournament and I think we’re all confident about (Wednesday).”
West Fargo's Zach Teske, who tied for second at last year's tournament, joined Karnik, Shanley's Jacob Skarperud, Central's Koby Kuenzel and Century's Zach Johnson in a tie for second Tuesday.
1. Fargo Davies 293, 2. Red River 297, 3. Grand Forks Central 298, 4. West Fargo 304, 5. West Fargo Sheyenne 312, 6. Bismarck Century 314, 7. Fargo North 316, 8. Minot 323, 9. Bismarck 343, 10. Jamestown 354, 11 (tie). Bismarck Legacy and Williston 355.