Gonzaga Prep junior Jack Plaster looked comfortable at Liberty Lake, like he’s played the course a thousand times.
He hasn’t – he estimated nine previous rounds – but that didn’t stop playing partners and some following his group to ask if Liberty Lake was his home course.
Plaster drove it straight, was solid with his irons and putted well, a combination that works on any golf course. He shot a 3-under-par 67 Tuesday and sits one shot behind Olympia’s Riley Killip entering Wednesday’s final round.
Plaster has worked on his swing and mental approach with instructor Mike LaBauve in Scottsdale, Arizona, and former Manito pro Steve Prugh.
“Just being in a good place with your game, that’s a big thing for me,” Plaster said. “I’m really comfortable where I’m at right now. I really try to focus on hitting every shot in the moment and adding them up at the end.”
Plaster shares second with Bellarmine Prep’s Joe Highsmith. Bellarmine Prep’s R.J. Manke and Kamiak’s Devin Kim shot 68. Olympia’s Cameron McCauley had a 69.
Plaster’s younger brother Nate, a freshman, shot a 70 and is tied for seventh. It was a solid first day for G-Prep with Reeves brothers Jack (75) and Will (77) also advancing to Wednesday’s final round.
Defending champ Bellarmine Prep and G-Prep are the only schools to advance four players. Manke and Highsmith, both bound for Pepperdine, lost to Richland’s Carl Underwood in a playoff in last year’s tournament. Underwood opened with a 71.
“I think we’re going to be in the medal count somewhere,” Bullpups coach Dennis Dougherty said.
Jack Plaster was 1 under on the front. He birdied No. 10 but bogeyed the par-5 12th. He finished strongly, running in a 20-footer for birdie on No. 15 and draining a 10-footer for birdie on the tough, par-4 17th.
“It was a steady round,” said Plaster, who tees off in the final group at 9:06 a.m. “I just put the ball in the right spots, which is important on this course.”
Nate Plaster was 3 over at one point but rallied with birdies on Nos. 9, 12 and 15. He had a double bogey on No. 5 after taking an unplayable lie when his ball plugged near the front lip of a fairway bunker.
He made a 15-foot birdie putt on 9, had a nice up-and-down for birdie on 12 and stuffed his approach within 6 inches of the cup on 15. He dropped par-saving putts from 4 feet on 17 and 18.
“My putting is good now, but I was struggling with my swing so there’s always something,” said Nate, who planned on spending some time on the range.
Jack Reeves, a junior, was 4 over after six holes but played even par over the last 12. Will, a freshman, had a nine on a front-side hole but was steady the rest of the way.
Mead’s Nick Muxlow (75, tied for 29th) and Lewis and Clark’s Ben Stone (76, t-35) advanced to the final round.
G-Prep’s Hannah Rieckers led GSL players with a 6-over 78 at MeadowWood. She’s tied for 12th.
“Hannah really plays her best golf when it’s important,” G-Prep coach Dennis Dougherty said.
Davis High’s Cassie Kim shot a 70 and has a one-shot lead over Richland’s Macy Robertson.
Mead’s Camryn Culp and LC’s Skylar Kersten both shot 80 to advance to Wednesday’s final round.
Mt. Spokane’s Gunnar Knutson opened with a 73 and Shadle Park’s Mitchell Weipert had a 74 at Columbia Point in Richland.
Redmond’s Connor Golembeski and Stanwood’s Quinton Borseth both shot 4-under 68. They’re one shot in front of Peninsula’s Austin Esser, Kamiakin’s McGwire Hanson and defending champion Spencer Tibbits of Fort Vancouver.
Knutson is tied for 14th; Weipert is tied for 18th. Shadle’s Sam Pauly (78) also qualified for Wednesday’s final round.
Mt. Spokane senior Megan Billeter is tied for seventh after opening with a 79 at Canyon Lakes in Kennewick.
Central Kitsap’s Brittany Kwon shot a 6-under 66. She leads Redmond’s Adithi Anand by three strokes.
Rogers’ Emma Torres (89, t-22) and Mt. Spokane’s Katie Maher (91, t-29) advanced to Wednesday’s final round.
Othello’s Patrick Azevedo and Chase McIntosh from Liberty (Issaquah) share the lead after shooting 73s at Qualchan.
Pullman’s Dane Bednar and Clarkston’s Travis Hansen carded 81s and are tied for 25th.
Clarkston’s Grace Frazier and Shelby Baum of East Valley (Yakima) are tied for first after even-par 73s at Indian Canyon. Defending champion Kenedee Peters of Ephrata trails the leaders by one stroke.
Freeman’s Ryan Maine opened with a 71 at Sun Willows in Pasco. He’s tied for third with two-time defending champion Nick Baker of Cle Elum-Roslyn.
Seton Catholic’s Nate Kutch fired a 68 to grab a two-stroke advantage over Hoquiam’s John Sand.
Colville’s Griffen Reggear (72) is tied for fifth. Freeman’s Tyler Haase (82, t-25) and Ryan Crosswhite (84, t-33) qualified for the final round.
Defending champion Kaysa Panke of Davenport took a commanding nine-shot lead with a 1-over 73 at Horn Rapids in Richland.
Wilbur-Creston’s Alicia Johnson (83) is in a three-way tie for third. Taylor Mitchell of St. George’s and Northwest Christian’s Chloe Sweatman are tied for seven after shooting 86.
Davenport’s Palmer Guhlke, the defending state champion, and Tekoa-Rosalia’s Dawson Strobel posted 74s at Horn Rapids to move to the top of the leaderboard.
Colfax’s Chance Weitze (75) is one shot behind the leaders.
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