TACOMA - DeSales' Ryan Baumgart is well on his way to defend his Class 1B/2B state boys golf championship after an opening-round 73 on the Oakbrook Golf and Country Club course Tuesday.
But the real question this year is, can the Irish take the boys' team title after finishing second at last year's state tournament?
Although scoring is still dependent on today's results, DeSales coach Lon Olson said the Irish have a very good shot.
"We're still definitely in it," Olson said. "If the kids play as well or better than yesterday, we'll be in very good position."
Baumgart holds a six-stroke lead over Liberty Christian's Jared Hoey, and was in position for an even better finish going into the final hole.
"Ryan double-bogeyed the last hole," Olson said, attributing the extra stroke to aggressiveness. "He was even-par going into 18 when he hit into a tree. I don't know for sure, but I'm sure he was thinking he wanted to get that par."
On the girls side, Irish eighth-grader Emily Baumgart is just one stroke off Odessa-Harrington's Kira Powell's leaderboard-topping 85 at her first state tournament. Baumgart was shooting par golf before the eigth hole when she carded a quadrouple bogey. After bogeying the ninth hole Baumgart still held a five-stroke lead going into the back nine, but she went 11 over on the back side of the course to surrender the lead to the two-time defending state champion, Powell.
"She's (Baumgart) got a great attitude," Olson said. "She was smiling and having a good time at dinner and ready to go this morning."
DeSales' Bryce Scott is tied for eighth on the boys side at 85, and teammate Jerod Konen is 15th at 88.
"He (Konen) struggled all day," Olson said. "He was pretty disappointed, but today's another day - they still have a chance to do well.
"Jerod Konen will bounce back today," he said. "I have faith in him, he's a gamer. I've got confidence that they (the Irish boys and girls) can all overcome the pressure they put on themselves."
Pomeroy's Joel Meyers turned in an opening-round 89, and Waitsburg-Prescott's Dakota Baker is tied for 25th at 92.
DeSales' Scott Kimball was tied for 55th at 99 and missed the cut.
"Joel struggled staying in the fairway," Pomeroy coach Jim Greene said of Meyers. "He hopes to improve on that (89) today."
Eleven of 15 boys golfers from District 9 shot under 95 to make the cut, Greene said.
"Everybody (from District 9) is pulling for each other," he said.
Pomeroy eighth grader Teresa Meyers is tied for sixth on the girls side at 101.
"She had a decent round," Greene said. "The best score was 85 by the defending state champion (Powell)."
DeSales' Ashton Montgomery sits tied for 19th at 113.
The tournament continues this morning with tee times beginning at 7:30 a.m. for the girls and 8 a.m. for the boys.
W-P's Baker was slated to tee off at 9:18, Pomeroy's Joel Meyers at 9:36, DeSales' Konen at 9:45, Scott at 10:12 and Ryan Baumgart at 10:21.
For the girls, DeSales' Montgomery was set to tee off at 7:39, Pomeroy's Teresa Meyers at 8:15 and Irish freshman Emily Baumgart at 8:24.