HINTON - Rejoice Christian's Justin Strathe and Preston Lovett of Tishomingo were the mark of consistentcy Monday.
Strathe, a junior at the Owasso private school, and Lovett, a sophomore at Tishomingo, both posted two 18-hole rounds of 74 each at Sugar Creek Canyon to tie for the lead heading into Tuesday's final round of the Class 2A Boys State Golf Championship.
Ryan Stults of Luther is two strokes back. Junior Brian Wenninger of Burns Flat and Tyler Miller, a freshman at Amber Pocasset, are three shots behind.
Stults and Miller both posted scores of two over par 73 on their second 18 holes Monday, the lowest rounds of the tournament..
As a team, Rejoice Christian is four strokes behind tournament leader Hinton, which is looking for its first state boys' state title in golf and trying to complete a sweep for the school. The Hinton girls' golf squad won the state championship last week.
Strathe, a two-time state champion in the Oklahoma Christian Athletics Association, is making his first appearance in the Class 2A state tournament because Rejoice Christian joined the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association this school year.
He was able tie Lovett for the lead after recording birdies on the final three holes of the day.
“I got off to a bad start both rounds so I had to work my way back,” Strathe said. “I let a few shots get away from me. I had some three putts. I got real aggressive (on the final three holes) because I wanted to stay in contention. I needed to finish.”
Lovett's play was solid in both rounds, recording five birdies on the day
Stults, a senior, posted a 77 Monday morning but bounced back with a 73 on his second 18 holes.
“I putted a lot better and I got used to the wind,” Stults said of his four-stroke improvement in the second round. “Even though the wind was blowing a little bit harder (Monday afternoon) I got used to playing in it a little bit more."
But Stults said his putting was the biggest difference in his improved play Monday afternoon.
“I didn't make as many birdie putts as I should have (in the first round),” he said. “I left myself in good spots. I just didn't make those putts and those were all close. I got a couple more to fall in the second round."