Montrose High School golfer Micah Stangebye

Montrose High School golfer Micah Stangebye hits a tee shot Monday during the state tournament at The Bridges.

The reigning boys state golf champion picked up from where he started at last year’s tournament.

Montrose High School golfer Micah Stangebye is leading the pack, shooting a 67, after day one of state Monday at The Bridges in Montrose. The senior shot a bogey-free 4-under-par and is three strokes ahead of Northfield’s Hunter Swanson and Discovery Canyon’s Kaden Ford (both 70).

Stangebye said his strong round came down to accuracy as he missed only one green on the day.

“I could have made a few more putts, that would be nice. But I can’t be too mad with a 67 on the first day,” said Stangebye, who had birdies on hole Nos. 7, 10, 11 and 15.

His round also helped Montrose’s team score; the Indians are in first place with a collective score of 217. Pueblo West is 14 strokes back with a 231, followed by Windsor (234), Durango (237) and Mullen (238).

Montrose coach Dave Woodruff called Stangebye’s round “steady,” saying the senior is the type of golfer who has the same temperature if he has a good or bad round.

“That’s perfect for your golf game,” Woodruff said.

Also paving the way for Montrose is Ryan Lords, who shot a 73 and Jordan Jennings with a 77.

Lords, in a day where he’s currently tied for fifth with Gabe Marmon of Cheyenne Mountain and Windsor’s Alex Tanner, was consistent, shooting in between even-par and 2-over all day.

The Montrose senior ended up with three bridies.

But Lords is looking over his scorecard, knowing he could have shot even better, considering he had a few three-putts on the front nine.

Despite that, Lords and Stangebye are showing their experience at the state tournament in their fourth and final trip, Woodruff said.

“They have a lot of experience that they can rely on and help them get through some of the nerves of being at home in front of a couple of 100 people,” the Montrose coach said.

Jennings had perhaps not his best round as he shot 6-over, which included two birdies, six bogeys and one double. He’s sitting in a five-way tie for 19th place.

Part of Jennings’ struggles came from hitting the ball into the water a few times, Woodruff said. But, with a new day, Woodruff said he believes the junior will bounce back and play better.

The freshman, Jake Legg, didn’t contribute to the team score, but he came with a 91 and one bridie. Legg is currently in a six-way stalemate for 71st place.

Woodruff said he hoped for Legg to shoot around there, adding his overall hope is for the young golfer to gain valuable state experience.

“This could help him in the next few years down the road,” Woodruff said.

He added the team’s goal is to have three golfers — Stangebye, Lords and Jennings — in the top 10, which is doable. Although Jennings at first glance looks far away from the top of the leaderboard, he’s only a stroke behind for 10th and eight golfers are currently tied for that spot.

The Bridges was packed Monday, when residents came in droves to see the Indians hoping to secure their third consecutive team state title. The other teams competing in Montrose are Frederick, Ponderosa, Steamboat Springs, Evergreen, Coronado and Summit.

The large crowds and schools vying for the state championship doesn’t seem to bother Stangebye. He said being able to play in front of the home crowd, as a senior no less, “is the best thing that could have happened.”

Stangebye said he’s not focusing on his chances of winning his second-straight individual state title, but rather looking forward to the new day.

“I’m just worried about the first tee shot tomorrow and go on from there,” he said.

The state tournament concludes today.

Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.

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