COLUMBUS — McKenna Kime found an unusual route to the lead of the Class C girls state golf tournament Monday at Quail Run Golf Course.
Kime, a senior at Grand Island Central Catholic, used the seventh fairway on her way to a bogey on the 17th hole.
“I got myself in some trouble off the tee box,” Kime said. “I ended up playing it off a different fairway and punching it through the trees to the green. I made a long putt to save a bogey, so I was pretty happy with that number.”
Kime is hoping she doesn’t need to do something similar on the second and final day of the tournament Tuesday.
“I don’t know if I could do it again,” Kime said.
Kime ended the day with an 82. That was four strokes ahead of teammate Erin Boon and Ogallala‘s Maaika Mestl who were tied for second at 86.
“McKenna and Erin had great days again,” Grand Island CC coach Dee Hanssen said. “They both just played really smart golf. I’m just really thrilled with them.”
Chadron’s Kelli Haynes is fourth (87), Boone Central’s Amy Ahlers fifth (88) and Ogallala’s Tessa Kap sixth (89).
Ogallala leads the team race at 365 with GICC second at 369. Norfolk Catholic is third at 386.
“I was really pleased with how the team played today,” Ogallala coach Kim Mestl said. “I didn’t know what to expect. We have never made it to state in the seven years I’ve been the coach. We came out of districts well and we played like we’ve talked about all year. I’m just really proud of the team.
“Hopefully they can hold it together for one more day and score about the same. We’ll see what happens.”
Hanssen was happy to be just four strokes back after what was a bit of a off round for the Crusaders as a team.
“We’re doing just fine right now,” Hanssen said. “I’m satisfied with where we’re sitting and I know we can do a lot better tomorrow so that’s OK with me. We’ve been in the lead before and sometimes it’s good to have the monkey on somebody else’s back.”
The Crusaders’ Alex Rieke was tied for 25th with a 100 while teammate Neha Sood was tied for 29th at 101.
“The girls know what they need to do,” Hanssen said. “My three and four players definitely didn’t have their best game today. We’ve worked some things out already. They finished well. They fixed what they needed to.
“They know they can do better, I know they can do better, but it’s still one stroke at a time, one hole at a time, one day at a time.”
Although things kind of fell in place for Kime in the end on the first day, the senior is still hoping to play better on Tuesday, especially when using her driver.
“I was struggling with my driver all day,” Kime said. “I pulled it off the tee box three times. That (the 17th hole) was one of them and it got me in trouble.”
Kime said she knows just what she needs to do in round two.
“I just have to avoid big numbers, play my game,” Kime said. “The conditions were pretty tough today. The scores were pretty high. We’ll see what it’s like tomorrow. You just have to stay focused and take it one stroke at a time.”