Grand Forks Red River junior Adam Van Raden was edged out of a state championship last season by a single stroke on the last hole.
It’s going to take a strong effort to catch him this time.
On the first day of this year’s North Dakota state Class A boys golf meet Monday at the Grand Forks Country Club, Van Raden put some distance between himself and the field.
In doing so, Van Raden also pushed Red River to a healthy 10-stroke lead on Day 1 of 2 of the event.
Van Raden was the only golfer to come in under par, with a 1-under 71. He has a three-shot lead on teammate Mat Halvorson and Fargo Shanley’s Nick Carlson, who sit at two over.
The East Region’s average leader coming into the meet, West Fargo Sheyenne’s Cole Johnson, sits in ninth -- six shots behind the leader.
“I didn’t really miss a shot until 16, when I had a bad putt,” Van Raden said. “From about 130 (yards) and in, I was pretty dialed in. I was inside 20 feet every time, I think.”
Van Raden, who averaged about a 76 this spring, came in leading the pack despite shooting a double bogey on his 18th hole.
“He should never have doubled the last hole,” Red River coach Merle Mikkelsen said. “If his drive would have hit a foot to the right it would have been nice, but he got behind some trees and had to hit it out.
“He’s just a heck of a player. He strikes the ball better than most do. When you watch him, his club always takes a very nice divot every time.”
Red River shot a 302 as a team. West Fargo Sheyenne (312) is 10 shots off the lead, followed by Grand Forks Central (315), West Fargo (317) and Fargo Davies (318).
Red River hasn’t won a meet since mid-May, but the Riders received a boost from Halvorson, who came in averaging just under 80 strokes per round.
Bismarck Century is the top team from the West Region with a 319 for sixth place.
The Knights, who won the East Region meet, were led by Cole Hanson’s 76. Central’s Ethan Knudson, who was East Region medalist, shot an 80.
Red River hasn’t won a state team title since 1996, when the Roughriders won their last of three straight.
The Riders also haven’t had a medalist since 1996, when Shane McMenamy won his second title.