Davenport senior Kaysa Panke is back in a familiar position at state golf, thanks to a strong second half of her round Tuesday.
Panke posted four birdies on the back nine at Hangman Valley to open up a three-shot lead over La Center’s Taylor Enteman at the State 1B/2B/1A tournament.
Panke matched her career-low round with a 3-under-par 69. Enteman shot a 72 and South Whidbey’s Kolby Heggenes is next at 74 entering Wednesday’s final round.
“Everything was super steady, nothing was outstanding,” said Panke, aiming for her third consecutive state title. “I just started to make some more putts and I got used to the speed of the greens.”
Panke dropped 15-foot birdie putts on Nos. 11 and 16. She made a 3-footer on 18 and a tap-in on 13.
“I’m just going to go slow and steady again (Wednesday), try to calm my nerves on the first nine,” the Gonzaga-bound Panke said.
Panke’s length off the tee left numerous short approaches on the 5,200-yard set-up.
“I’m going to work on the range on my 30- to 80-yard shots,” she said. “I can improve on a lot of those.”
Freeman’s Rhea Jansen (82) is in eighth place and teammate Isabelle Miller (84) shares 10th with Maddy Christiansen of St. George’s and Tekoa-Rosalia’s Michaela Tee.
Gonzaga Prep appears to be in the driver’s seat after the first round of the State 4A boys tournament.
The Bullpups lead all teams with five players advancing to Wednesday’s final round at Canyon Lakes in Kennewick. Three-time defending champion Bellarmine Prep, Eastlake, Kamiak and Tahoma all had three players make the cut.
G-Prep, chasing its first state title in boys golf, has four players in the top 14. Hayden Gamache led the way with a 73 for a share of seventh place. Nathan Plaster and Tommy Kimmel shot 74s and sit in a five-way tie for ninth. Will Reeves (75) is tied for 14th and Jack Plaster, state runner-up last year, is tied for 29th after shooting a 77. Jack Reeves (79) missed advancing by one stroke.
“We’re in good position to make a run at it,” coach Dennis Dougherty said. “The depth and balance is what’s really made for a lot of wins for the Bullpups over the season.”
Mt. Si’s Drew Warford has a one-shot lead after opening with a 70. Central Valley’s Zach Stocker (75), Lewis and Clark’s Logan Damon (78) and Mead’s Zane Mularski (78) qualified for the second round.
Mead’s Camryn Culp had made a habit of personal-best rounds in the last month. She did it again with a 1-over 73 at Sun Willows in Pasco. The Panthers junior is tied for sixth, seven shots behind Bellarmine Prep’s Montgomery Ferreira.
“I made a 25-foot curler from the fringe for birdie (on No. 18),” said Culp, eclipsing her previous best score by one stroke. “My family went nuts.”
Central Valley freshman Kami Twining (77) is tied for 20th.
Mt. Spokane junior Gunnar Knutson couldn’t get untracked at Qualchan, opening with a 6-over 78. Teammate Landon Spencer and Shadle Park’s Sam Pauly also shot 78 to share 30th place.
“I made a pretty major swing change on Friday with my coach and you could see the effects of it throughout the round,” Knutson said. “I just didn’t feel confident, didn’t feel comfortable in all areas of my game, but there were a few holes I was happy that I scrapped it together and kept it in the 70s.”
Knutson’s lone birdie came on No. 11, a tough, 210-yard par 3. The Greater Spokane League Player of the Year struggled on the greens.
“Poor lag putting, I couldn’t get anything to drop,” he said. “Just one of those days.”
Mountain View’s Graham Moody holds a one-stroke lead after shooting a 68.
Central Kitsap’s Brittany Kwon shot a 73 at Indian Canyon to take a one-stroke lead in the girls tournament. Shadle Park’s Olivia Clarke (88) is tied for 27th.
Two-time champion Kenedee Peters of Ephrata holds a five-shot lead after carding a 72 at Horn Rapids in Richland. Cheney’s Katarina Ljubisic (92) is tied for 21st.
Boys co-leaders Dylan Apodaca (Selah) and Chase McIntosh (Liberty of Issaquah) shot 69s at Columbia Point in Richland. Pullman’s Eric Martin (76) is tied for 14th and Cheney’s Thomas Baycroft (78) is tied for 18th.
Bear Creek School’s John Hayes fired the only under-par round at Liberty Lake with a 69. Colville’s Griffen Reggear (73) is tied for second. Deer Park’s Ethan Shroyer (80) is in a five-way tie for ninth.
Ilwaco’s Blake Kukula shot a 70 at Hangman Valley to build a three-stroke lead over Colfax’s Chance Weitze and Tekoa-Rosalia’s Dawson Strobel. Colfax’s Augie Allenbach is fourth after shooting a 76.