Gusty winds and gutsy underclassmen headlined the first day of the District 12-5A boys golf championships Monday at Twin Rivers Golf Club in Waco.

Belton, led by freshman Andrew Paysse, fired a day one-leading 330, six shots ahead of second-place Bryan (336) and 12 shots ahead of third-place Harker Heights (342).

Paysee, one of 11 underclassmen competing on the Tigers’ two teams, shot a field-leading 75. Bryan senior Sam DeStefano is second, one shot behind Paysse, and Harker Heights freshman Logan Fox is third after posting a 79.

“I thought it was an unbelievably hard day,” Belton coach Jim Hellums said. “With winds gusting out of the north ... I think that (Paysse’s) 75 was an amazing score and anything in the 70s was good.”

Defending District 12-5A boys champion A&M Consolidated is fourth after shooting a 347.

The top two teams and top two individuals not from a qualifying team advance to the Region II-5A meet April 21-22 at Waco’s Bear Ridge Golf Course. The District 12-5A girls golf meet is Wednesday and Thursday at Waco’s Cottonwood Creek Golf Course.

“It was real tough up there. The scores were high, but for us, it was pretty good score,” Harker Heights coach David Westfall said. “We can certainly shave some off, but I’m sure everybody else is looking to the do the same.

Behind Consolidated’s A and fifth-place B team, Temple is sixth after firing a 368 and Belton’s B team is seventh (373). Copperas Cove shot a 388 for eighth-place and Shoemaker is ninth (405).

Temple’s Tim Penning is fourth overall after he shot an 82 and Belton’s Nick Ratliff and Bryan’s Clayton Hudson are tied for fifth (83).

Harker Heights’ Wyatt Smith shot an 86, Cameron Wilson shot an 88 and Ben Ko fired an 89 to help Fox lead the Knights.

“Each player’s got to cut a couple of strokes,” Westfall said. “I think Logan is in good shape. If he can hang around 77, 78, that’ll be good. ... Hopefully, it won’t be as windy.”

Gatesville in first in 19-3A tourney

With the way their past few outings have been, the Hornet golf teams are just hoping for less wind during next week’s final round of the District 19-3A tournament.

That wasn’t the case during round two at The Lake Country Club in Waco. Or during the opening round last week. It was even the same two weeks ago when the boys played at the Gatesville Country Club.

“I’d like to finally play a round without 40 mph wind,” Gatesville head coach Guy Deen said jokingly. “If we get good conditions, I think everybody feels a little more confident in what the ball’s going to do in the air and their club selection instead of guessing.”

The final round is April 12 at the Gatesville Country Club. The Hornets don’t know how windy it will be, but both teams are sitting atop the leaderboard.

On the boys side, Brantley Cole had Monday’s low round, shooting an 80.

“He just had a solid round, felt confident in his decisions and for the most part, played almost a mistake-free round,” Deen said of the sophomore.

Beau Bartlett had an 82 to lead Gatesville’s second team, while first-teamers Logan Cooper (88) and Hunter Deen (89) also shot less than 90. The 2009 3A champions and last year’s runners-up posted a 349 team total for a two-round total of 683. They sit 23 shots ahead of China Spring (706).

Kristen Smithhart led the girls, shooting a 99. Gatesville finished with a 414, putting its two-round total at 800, good enough for a two-shot lead on China Spring.

“You always wish you shot better scores, but I think under the circumstances, you have to feel good that you’re in first place going into the final round,” Guy Deen said. “It could have easily been a lot worse and flip-flopped the other way.”

Lampasas, Salado 1-2 in 25-3A

The Lampasas Lady Badgers set out to claim a district golf championship.

They want to advance to regionals and on to the state meet next month.

They took their first step, sitting in first place after one day at the District 25-3A tournament. The Lady Badgers posted a team total of 346 at Llano River Golf Course and are 13 shots ahead of Salado, a five-time state champion moving up to 3A this year.

“That’s the goal they’ve set,” Lampasas girls coach Stuart Beckwith said. “They’ve been playing practice rounds and doing stuff to get ready for that. I’m sure not going to discourage that.”

Individually, Salado’s Taylor O’Rear leads the pack, posting a 78 despite windy conditions. Lampasas’ Carmen Gonzales, who qualified for state last year, struggled a bit and shot an 84 to lead the Lady Badgers.

“I was proud of the kids for sticking with it,” Beckwith said. “It was a tough day on the course for everybody.”

Lampasas also leads on the boys side. The Badgers shot a 323 and lead Salado by 18 strokes. Leading the way is the Badgers’ Byler Lindeman, who’s atop the leaderboard with a 79. Tied for second behind him is older brother Stayton Lindeman and Salado’s Dane Hankamer, who both posted 80.

“We did all right,” Salado head coach Bobby Peschel said. “You go in the first day of a tournament, you just don’t want to lose it on the first day. You’re not going to win it on the first day, but you sure don’t want to lose it on the first day.

“I thought we hung in there pretty good.”

The tournament continues today but moves locations to Mill Creek Golf Course in Salado. The top two teams advance to the Region IV-3A meet, along with the top two individuals not on regional-qualifying teams.

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