The Winona senior turned in a 69 — including seven birdies — without making a putt longer than 8 feet. He’s the Day 1 leader, two shots ahead of Wayzata’s Will Holmgren and three clear of a group of four golfers at even par.
“I definitely consider myself a competitor, and late in the year I’ve just been playing really steady,” Leaf said. “I knew I just had to go out there and play my game and the rest would take care of itself.”
On a course that played a longer-than-usual 6,514 yards and 40 of 88 competitors shot 80 or worse, fear looms that a high number is out there. Just not in Leaf’s mind.
“I’ll sleep well,” he said. “I’d rather be here than doing just about anything else.”
Holmgren aims to score low each time he unloads his clubs at a golf course.
He just prefers to do his damage later rather than sooner.
“I don’t always like to birdie the first hole,” the junior said. “I think sometimes it can set a bad omen for me.”
So you have to wonder, when he drained a 20-footer for birdie on East No. 1 on Tuesday morning, how much he really celebrated.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to go in, actually,” Holmgren said. “But it wound up being all right.”
Holmgren finished his day with four birdies and an eagle, and helped the Trojans to the Day 1 team lead by two over Forest Lake with a combined 298 score.
Jessica Blanchard of Marshall provided the shot of the day Tuesday. Playing in the Class 2A girls’ competition at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan, the sophomore aced the 132-yard par-3 17th hole with a 7-iron.
Blanchard is in a tie for 34th place. Natalie Roth of Detroit Lakes leads after posting a 1-under 71. She’s a shot ahead of teammate Kate Smith. The defending champion Lakers lead the team competition by 19 shots.
Jordan Peters of Delano shot a 3-under 69 and leads by two shots in the boys’ Class 2A competition. Staples-Motley, paced by freshman Andrew Isrealson’s 71, leads the team portion by five over defending champion Detroit Lakes.
Grant Exsted’s 4-under-par 68 at Pebble Creek in Becker led the way for Mille Lacs, which has a 20-stroke lead over defending champ Legacy Christian Academy in the Class 1A boys’ tournament.
Hannah Kruger of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton shot an 80 and leads the girls’ competition. Badger-Greenbush-Middle River has a seven-shot lead in the team race.