Tigers sit 10th after first round

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Blake Driskell shot a 76 to lead Central's foursome at the Class 4 tournament.

Springfield, Mo. -- One of only two teams playing in the 10-team Class 4 field with four players, the Cape Girardeau Central boys' golf team knew they'd have to play close to perfect on Monday to stay in contention for a state championship.

They didn't. And after posting an 11-over par 82 on the first day at Deer Lake Golf Course, Robert Kaverman had just one thing on his mind.

OK, maybe two things.

"Get a good meal and then hit Bass Pro," Kaverman said of the team's plans for Monday evening. "Hopefully, we can get this round out of our heads."

Central sits in last place in the team standings going into today's final round after posting a 321. The good news for the Tigers is that eight of the teams they are chasing are within shouting distance.

Barring a miracle, Rockhurst is probably not. The Hawklets shot a 5-over par 289 -- a record for state competition on a par-71 or 72 course -- and lead second-place Park Hill South by 14 strokes.

"We really hadn't come together all year until [Monday]," said Rockhurst senior Jason Schulte, who shot a 1-under par 70 to tie for the lead. "We can't think about the lead that we have; We just need to go out and focus and keep playing like we have been."

Schulte, Rockhurst teammate Tyler Bernard and Lebanon's Jay McBride lead a tightly packed field after a round played under less than ideal playing conditions.

The winds were constant at 20 miles per hour and the hard greens made putting difficult.

"The course doesn't seem to be in that great of condition," Kaverman said. "The greens were very quick."

Central's No. 1 golfer, senior Blake Driskell, was hoping to improve on his showing last year, when he tied for 27th. He was even after the front nine, but was 5-over on the back nine to finish with a 76.

"I developed a hook," Driskell said, visibly disappointed as he finished filling out his scorecard. "I'm pretty ticked, honestly. Last year I blew up on the second day and shot an 80. At least this year I blew up on the first day."

For this group of Central golfers, today marks the last chance to make a push. Seven of the team's top eight players are seniors, as are all four competing at state.

Kirk Lohmann shot an 80 and Zach Kluesner carded an 83. Finishing in the top four -- the Tigers' goal coming in -- will be a difficult challenge. Glendale and Poplar Bluff are tied for fourth, fifteen shots ahead of Central.

"We want a big trophy and we can get it if we finish in the top four," Kaverman said. "This group has been playing together since the sixth grade and we're best friends on and off the course. We'd like to end this with a good day."

Late Monday afternoon, they were hoping a non-golf related trip might change their luck.

"I'm going to hit the range first and try to work on my swing," Driskell said as he walked away from the 18th green. "Then hopefully we can get over to Bass Pro and check it out."


* Tyler Hillis led the Mules after the first day with a 73. Poplar Bluff has finished in the top four each of the past two years.

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