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Vermillion leads, Roncalli second; Anderson one shot off lead at State A tourney

Finn Anderson, of Aberdeen Roncalli, hits out of a bunker on the 10th hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club during Monday’s round of the Class A Boys State Golf Tournament. Anderson is one stroke off the lead. Photo by John Davis taken 10/3/2022

Life at the top is definitely crowded following the opening round of the Class A State Golf Tournament Monday at Moccasin Creek Country Club.

There are four golfers tied for first and two others one shot behind, while Vermillion is setting the pace in the team standings.

The Tanagers shot a stellar total of 304 to lead Aberdeen Roncalli by 16 strokes. The Cavaliers had a solid round of 320 and it could have been even better, according to coach Jon Murdy.

“Just watching some of the kids today, there’s shots that we can get back easily,” Murdy said.

Even so, the Cavaliers produced some big putts along the way to stay within striking distance of the leader.

“My team is some pretty good putters. From top to bottom they’re all very good grinders,” Murdy said. “They like to get up and down. They like to putt. That’s what we work on 90 percent of the year.”

One of those putts capped off the round for Finn Anderson, who finished with a 75 and is tied for fifth just one stroke off the lead.

The eighth-grader found himself in a bunker on the 18th hole before sinking about a 25-foot putt to save par.

“The bunker shot was tough, and then the putt, I hit one like that earlier on 13,” Anderson said, “so I hit the same putt and rattled it home.”

Anderson was pleased with his round which leaves him in strong contention for a possible individual championship when play resumes today.

“The round was pretty solid,” he said. “I was striking the ball pretty good.”

Murdy knows the kind of ability that Anderson possesses.

“He’s a good player. It’s just kind of been trying to get him in the right mindset for every week,” Murdy said. “It’s finally coming down to where he’s realizing what he can do.”

The final putt gives Anderson some momentum heading into the final round.

“It felt good to just walk off with a par,” Anderson said, “because that could have been worse.”

Anderson is tied with last year’s state champion Kaleb Jost of Sioux Falls Christian for fifth.

Brevin Fliehs, of Groton Area, watches his tee shot on the seventh hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club during Monday’s round of the Class A Boys State Golf Tournament. Fliehs is tied for 24th after shooting an 81. Photo by John Davis taken 10/3/2022

A quartet of golfers all shot a 74 and own a share of the lead. The list includes Trey Hansen and Cooper Girard of Vermillion, Dakota Munger of Chamberlain and Keeton Newborg of Tea Area.

Hansen tried to stay out of trouble and that strategy worked out well.

“I guess I kind of just played it safe around the course,” Hansen said, “and just tried to hit good irons and make some putts.”

Trey Hansen, of Vermillion, watches his tee shot on the ninth hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club during Monday’s round of the Class A Boys State Golf Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 10/3/2022

The junior said he is focused on doing whatever he can to help his team during the tourney.

“That’s mainly what I focused on,” Hansen said. “It’s a team sport and I just kind of want to pull my part.”

He plans on trying to do the same things today that brought him success on Monday.

“I think I just need to keep hitting the ball solid, try to keep it in play, just try to make some more putts,” Hansen said.

Being near the top of the leaderboard is nothing new for Munger. The junior finished third at state two years ago and was eighth last season.

Munger overcame a triple bogey with an eagle and capped off his round with a strong finish.

“I had that triple. I just kept telling myself it’s only one hole,” Munger said. “I have a lot of chances to make birdies coming down and I ended up wiping it out and scored well, still.”

Dakota Munger, of Chamberlain, putts on the fourth hole at Moccasin Creek Country Club during Monday’s round of the Class A Boys State Golf Tournament. Photo by John Davis taken 10/3/2022

Munger said the goal was to stay within touch of the leaders on the opening day to give himself a chance over the final 18 holes.

“Every day is a new day,” Munger said. “I just have to play my game and hope things go well the second day.”

Things should be interesting when action continues today with a scramble for the individual state championship as well as Roncalli’s attempt to try to track down Vermillion.

Murdy said the Cavaliers can only control what they can do.

“Like I tell the kids all year long, I’m not going to tell you to go out there and shoot something that you can’t,” Murdy said. “I want you to just go and do what you can do.”

While the Tanagers will be the front runner, the Cavaliers will focus instead on playing the course and then seeing what transpires from there.

“Right now, I know that Vermillion has a great team. They have five guys that can play very well,” Murdy said. “It’s just kind of see what happens. It’s us vs. the course and if we can beat the course that day, so be it.”

To see complete opening day results, click on the following link:

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