From staff reports

The Vanguard boys’ golf team is tracking its ninth straight state title Tuesday, and the Vanguard girls’ team is closing in on a new streak of its own.

Both of Vanguard’s golf teams hold slim grips on first place headed into the final day of the TAPPS Class 2A state golf tournament Tuesday at Stone Tree Golf Club in Killeen. Both teams were able to hold off their Boerne Geneva counterparts during Monday’s opening round, but not by much.

“We don’t have any wiggle room at all this year,” Vanguard boys’ and girls’ golf coach John Antunes said.

The boys’ team shot a 320 and holds a four-stroke lead over Geneva, while the girls’ team leads Geneva by just a stroke after carding a collective 371.

At least for the boys’ team, this is a change from most years past, when the Vikings cruised on the first day and sailed through nonthreatening waters during preordained final rounds. Geneva was spearheaded Monday by Baylor commit Nick Thornton, who shot a 68 for the day’s only sub-par round on the boys’ side.

But Vanguard, which has no upperclassmen, was the deeper team Monday. Max Harmon (78), Cooper Anderton (80), Lewis Aynesworth (81), Connor Caldwell (81) and Matthew Parks (94) helped keep Vanguard first through the first 18 with steady scores despite a choppy start.

The Vanguard girls’ team is chasing its first state title since 1996, which was also its only state triumph. Vanguard lost to Geneva by a stroke in district but bested them by 13 at regionals, and Tuesday’s finale is set up to be a photo finish.

Vanguard was led by Katy Cummings’ 78, while Mills Chenot (83) and Grace Gardner (98) also shot sub-100 rounds. Audra Atchley carded a 112 and Grace Serr shot a 115 to round out Vanguard’s day.

In Austin, Midway’s Kyle Karnei started hot but carded seven bogeys to fall into a tie for 44th at 5-over after the first day of the Class 5A state tournament at Morris Williams Golf Course.

Mansfield’s Cole Barnett shot a 5-under 67 and is tied with Belton’s Andrew Paysse for the lead headed into today’s final 18 holes.

Karnei, who’s making his first state appearance, birdied his second hole on a 526-yard par-5 and was 1-under after three holes. But he started a string of four straight bogeys on his next hole, making another birdie on No. 8 mere consolation.

The day was made more difficult by a pair of weather delays, which forced Karnei to finish his 18th hole in near darkness.

“It was good, and then some of the breaks starting not coming my way,” Karnei said. “It was an up and down round.”

He was 2-over through 10 holes, but he double bogeyed 11 and then bogeyed 12. He finished with two more birdies on the back nine to keep from falling farther back.

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