Rogersville High School junior Alec Palen kept himself in the hunt after one day of the Class 3 state golf finals on Monday, shooting a 74 at Sedalia Country Club.
The round has the University of Missouri commit in a three-way tie for fifth place, trailing leader Ethan Luecke of Warrenton by four strokes.
“I played well. I got some birdies rolling and putted a little better,” Palen said. “I really like the course and I like where I’m at right now. I didn’t want to be leading the tournament in day one, and I think I’m in a good place.”
In the second group today, the temptation might be to keep an eye on the final group behind him and other golfers in his sight. But the junior said he’ll be focused only on his game.
“I’m one of those guys where I don’t look at the scoreboard,” he said. “I know if I play my game the way I should, then I’m going to win.”
Palen is already a two-time all-state finisher, taking eighth as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore.
Local sectional champion Clayton Moles of Marshfield was in a five-way tie one shot behind Palen after shooting 75.
Palen’s teammate Rob Mahaffey and Bolivar’s Haden Stevens are among a group of four golfers who shot 76.
West Plains was the only local team to advance to Class 3 state. The Zizzers are seventh after shooting 326. Ben Charles led West Plains, shooting 79.
MICDS shot 308 to lead the team event by two strokes over Cape Girardeau Notre Dame.
Joplin McAuley’s Connor Schlegel shot 77 to qualify for the final group in today’s second round of the Class 1 state golf finals at Silo Ridge Country Club in Bolivar.
Schlegel is tied for second with Tarkio’s Derek Rohlfsen, one shot behind leader Trevor Cronin of Barat Academy.
Zach Steed of Thayer (80) and Phillip Roller of Purdy (81) are both in strong contention for all-state honors with 18 holes to play.
In the team competition, Marceline shot 337 and leads Barat Academy by one stroke.