COLUMBUS — The Scottsbluff and Gering girls golf teams are tearing up the links at Elks Country Club in Columbus.

They finished first and second respectively after the first round of the Class B Girls Golf Championships on Monday, Oct. 14.

Scottsbluff freshman Anna Kelley sits in second place with a score of 76 to pace the Bearcats. Scottsbluff finished the first day of the two-day tournament with a team score of 327. The Bulldogs shot a 336.

“They played well. We played solid. It’s a heckuva score. I mean, you’re at the state tournament and tie your season best on a much tougher golf course. You have to feel good about it,” Scottsbluff coach Brock Ehler said.

Ehler said Kelley started the day hitting the ball well.

“Anna was hitting the ball really well on the range today. She’s been striking it really well,” Ehler said. “She’s probably got as good as hands as anybody on this team. Feeling the touch and getting a feel for the greens. I knew that could happen. I knew her game would be able to travel. She did a good job and she played a heckuva round. I think she can do it again tomorrow. She’s got as good a chance to win as anybody.”

Gering coach Jessica Boswell said her team also played well.

“We played good today,” she said. “The course is a little bit difficult. Some of the girls struggled and we had some penalty strokes and some struggled with putting. Overall, I don’t think we were too disappointed.

“We have to cut out those penalty strokes that we had today. The girls struggled on the back nine, which it is a little bit tougher. We need to cut off some of the strokes off our putting, keeping at two putts or under. So that will be a big thing tomorrow. We just need to finish the last three or four holes a little bit better than most of the girls did today.”

Gering senior Ali Boswell and Bulldog junior Madi Schlaepfer are tied for fourth place with Scottsbluff sophomore Emily Krzyzanowski. They scored a 76 to finish even with last year’s Class C champion Harley Hiltibrand of Ogallala.

Scottsbluff’s Carson Hauschild carded a personal best of 85 to end tied for ninth with York’s Riley Stuhr.

“Carson can still keep getting better,” Ehler said. “I hope it happens tomorrow. I don’t that weather will be conducive for it. She is right there to do something to really shock herself. ... She’s right on the edge of shooting a 77 or 78.”

Jessica Boswell said she was impressed with the play of Scottsbluff and Gering golfers.

“Anna Kelley had a superb day. She was hitting the ball well. She was putting well. Making birdies. She played the course really well,” se said. “Ali hit the ball really well. She finished her last hole with a four putt, but, other than that, she had a solid day getting back into the 70s. Madi had an above average day. She just struggled on a couple holes, and there are some tough holes out there.

“There aren’t a whole lot of straight holes, so it is a lot of positioning your ball in places that you can hit the green on your second shots. All my girls had some great shots and some shots that they left out there and most of them were on the back nine on some of those tougher holes.”

Rounding out the scoring for the Bearcats is junior Halle Shaddick in 12th place with an 87 and Lehla Ehler shot a 98 for 29th.

Going into day two with a nine stroke lead, Ehler said, doesn’t mean they will go out and play it safe.

“We’re going to go out. We’re not going play like we’re protecting a lead,” he said. “We’re just going to play golf and keep a good attitude. It will be a chilly day, so it will be a fun test.”

The Bulldog’s Mitchell ended in 11th place with an 86. Also for Gering, junior Tayber Meyer shot a 92 for 17th and Kelsey Le tied for 18th with a 93,

Chadron junior Madeline Pelton finished with a 99. Pelton tees off at 9 a.m. for the second round of the tournament today in Columbus.

For Scottsbluff, Ehler tees at 9:10 a.m., followed by Halle Shaddick at 10:10 a.m. Hauschild will seek to top her new personal best of 85 when she tees off at 10:20 a.m. Gering’s Mitchell will be in Hauschild’s flight. Krzyzanowski tees off at 10:40 a.m., followed by Kelley at 10:50.

Tee times for Gering are: Le at 9:50 a.m., Meyer at 10, Schlaepfer at 10:30 and Bowswell at 10:40.

Boswell said her team should play better on Tuesday.

“They should do better tomorrow,” she siad. “It will be windier and a little bit colder, but I think they should be OK.”

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Jeff Van Patten is the sports editor of the Star-Herald. Jeff can be reached by calling 308-632-9050 or emailing jeff.vanpatten@starherald.com.

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