KEARNEY – There is a saying in Nebraska that if the wind ever stopped blowing we would all fall down.
There was no chance of that on Tuesday.
Winds in excess of 25-30 miles per hour greeted the Class D state golf field at Meadowlark Hills Golf Course north of Kearney on Tuesday.
The wind dictated the style of play as high shots became wayward in the wind, so golfers who could keep the ball low were faring better.
Meadowlark Hills is 6,518 yards long with an 18-hole par of 71.
Cross County's Dalton Clark started off strong as he had three consecutive pars to open his first round, then things started to change as the tight course and the strong winds made hitting the fairway very difficult.
A rough finish to the first nine left Clark 11 over headed to the back nine. A stretch of three holes 7-8-9 resulted in an eight over par swing.
On the back nine the Cougar golfer had three bogies and three pars through the first six holes to sit at 14-over, but on the Par 4, 385 yard, No. 16 he got a shot back with a birdie three.
He closed out the round with bogies on 17 and 18 and headed into day two at 15-over par.
“I just really made a mess of No. 6,” said Clark following his round of 86 that kept in the top 15. “I pulled my drive out of bounds, then I hit my next one in the rough and hit from the rough out of bounds. I was just really frustrated and went on to make a couple double bogeys after that.”
Clark said a long bogey putt on No. 9 helped to change his frame of mind to start the back nine. “I made that putt and it seem to get me in a better frame of mind,” Clark added. “I think the first nine was mostly nerves since this was my first time at state and I really didn't know what to expect.”
Two practice rounds on Friday and Monday did not prepare Clark for the conditions he faced on Tuesday.
“The course played completely different than it played on Friday. The wind was from the south and I really kind of liked that south wind. Today was totally different.”
The leader through the first 18-holes is Garrett Ring of Alma with a seven over 78, in second is Michael Brockhaus of Humphrey St. Francis and Jay Cottam of Thayer Central both carding first round 79 scores and Brendan Johnson of Medicine Valley is fourth with a nine over 80.
Clark's 15 –over (86) currently has him sitting in a tie for 12th with Britton Ferguson on Elm Creek.