It's been a long boy's golf season, but the finish line is in sight. 

The state tournament starts Monday in Aberdeen, and four teams met for the first leg of a tournament that the coaches say is meant to tune players up for the state tournament.

The West River Challenge pits Sturgis, Douglas, Rapid City Central and Rapid City Stevens, and after one leg at Boulder Canyon in Sturgis the home team holds the lead with 173, Central is second with 182, Stevens is third with 186 and Douglas is fourth with 198.

The tournament is a nine-hole tournament, and it will continue at Meadowbrook Country Club Thursday.

"We're at the phase where we're getting ready for the state meet," Central head coach Jeremy Noyes said. "We have a tournament every day this week, and we're hoping to get some momentum and carry that into the state tournament."

Noyes said he was happy about the way his team played.

"Our guys had a pretty good day," Noyes said. "We had four scores in the 40's so I was pleased with that."

Noyes was especially pleased because his team has a lot of youth, and he said he knows playing against good teams in a tournament setting will help to prepare them for the state tournament.

"We're awfully young and inexperienced this year and we've taken our lumps," he said. "I think today was a step in the right direction, it was good to play well against some of the top golfers in the state."

Sturgis head coach Steve Keszler said he was happy with the way his team played.

"We view this as one last warmup before state," Keszler said.

Keszler's top golfer, Tice McVay, leads the tournament after one leg. 

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McVay has a 38 and is followed by teammate Noah Ziegmann who shot a 43. Behind him is a tie for third between Matt Eby from Sturgis and Cameron Kor from Central with a 44. 

The state tournament is at the Moccasin Creek Country Club in Aberdeen and is Oct. 3-4.

Noyes pegged Stevens as a team that could win the state tournament, which is why he was excited to have his young team challenge them.

"Stevens could win it all, so to have us compete against some of these golfers has been valuable," Noyes said. 

Central and Stevens go at each other today in a week that is all about preparation for the state tournament.

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