From Staff reports
TULSA — Jake Johnson certainly saved the best for last.
The Tahlequah junior shot a 71 and then a 75 to log a total of 146 in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament on Monday. Johnson’s total has him four strokes behind Bishop Kelley’s Chris Karlovich, who is the leader in the clubhouse with 18 holes left to go at Tulsa Country Club today.
“Jake Johnson and Hunter Pennington played their best rounds of the year today,” Tahlequah coach Nick Baker said. “They hit the ball well and had good short games.”
Pennington started with a 78 and closed with a 76 to pull into a tie for eighth.
Behind the efforts of Johnson and Pennington, Tahlequah sits in fourth place with a team total of 637. Bishop Kelley (608), Deer Creek (630) and Bishop McGuinness (631) are all ahead of the Tigers with Shawnee not far behind at 639.
Brandt Emerson fired an 82 on his second 18 of the first round to help Tahlequah finish Monday with a 318, one stroke better than its first 18 of the day.
“Brandt Emerson’s 82 in the second round really helped the team,” Baker said. “And it should be a confidence booster for (Tuesday).”
Rounding out Tahlequah’s scores were Blake Berry (85-85, 169) and Brent Spradlin (86-89, 175).
“Blake Berry and Brent Spradlin didn’t have their best games (on Monday),” Baker said. “But I believe they will turn it around (on Tuesday).”
Heading into the final round, El Reno’s Carson Jensen is a stroke behind Johnson and Bishop Kelley’s Will Murphy is two shots off Johnson’s second-place pace.
At the Class 3A state tournament in Duncan, Sequoyah’s Rylan Bunch recorded a 36-hole total of 154. The Sequoyah senior is tied for 16th place and is 11 shots off the winning pace.