St. Thomas More golfer Nick Lust will be the first to admit that his round at Sturgis Invitational Monday wasn't his best. When you finish as the runner-up at the 2016 Class A State Tournament, however, that is enough to win.
Lust opened the 2017 season by shooting a 72, edging out Kade Varland from Lead-Deadwood for his first win of the season at the Sturgis Invitational at Boulder Canyon Country Club.
"He left a lot of shots out there, he only hit nine greens in regulation so that just tells you how well he putted," STM coach Andy Shaw said. "It could have been a really low round for him today, but that just shows you how good he can be, where even on an off day he can shoot par.
"I’m praying that this will be a really special year for Nick and I think this is a really good start to it."
It was also a good start for the Cavalier team. STM won the team title with a 325, holding off Rapid City Stevens' 328.
"Our guys stepped up huge, especially our young guys," Shaw said. "Strider (Jacobson), Carter Janssen) and Cade (Jacobson) had awesome rounds, so I’m thrilled out of my mind. Now that sets the bar for us. Do we get better? Or do we say 'that’s as good as we get?'"
Strider Jacobson and Janssen shot 84s to tie for eighth, while Cade Jacobson shot a 85 to tie for 10th.
Ben Daane from Stevens finished third with a 75, Matt Albrecht from Stevens took fourth with 78 and Parker Louks from Spearfish rounded out the top with an 80.
J.D. Keszler from Sturgis finished sixth with an 82, followed closely by his teammate Tice McVay with an 83 while Austin Eggers from Custer and Noah Ziegmann from Sturgis rounded out the top 10 with 85s.
Sturgis took third with a 343, Spearfish fourth with a 361 and Rapid City Central finished fifth with a 378.
After finishing second to Jacob Lee from Parkston in last year's state tournament, Lust said his goal is to win a title during his senior year. He said he also wants to see his teammates stand with him on the team podium as state champs.
"We played pretty well today, we had two 84s and a 85, we got second in state last year so I think if we keep playing like this we should be right in the mix again," Lust said. "Obviously you want to win state, that’s goal number one. I think team comes first so hopefully you improve on last year’s round and see if we can win it, but hopefully stay in that elite group of top three or top four, that would be really nice."
STM's score of 328 was the lowest Shaw could remember during his time as the Cavalier coach, and said he couldn't have asked for a better way to start the season.
Lust did have competition from a sophomore from Lead-Deadwood in Varland. Goldiggers coach Tim Hansen said Varland showed impressive maturity for a sophomore.
"The thing that impressed me the most about Kade’s game today is that he stayed within himself," he said. "Anytime you’re playing with Nick Lust it’s really easy to get caught up in Nick’s game and see how good Nick is doing and I thought for the first time really playing with him Kade did a great job just focusing and maintaining what he needed to do with his game on the course today."
Douglas coach Amy Rowe said she wasn't as concerned with her golfer's scores on Monday as much as getting an assessment of where they are.
"It was kind of what I expected," she said of the Patriots sixth place finish of 404. "We’ll look to lower scores in the future hopefully, it’s a good start for us. I always use these first few tournaments to look at where we are and where we need to go from here."
Most teams will go from Sturgis to the Hot Springs Invitational today. Stevens and part of the Spearfish team will be going to the Brandon Valley Invitational while Central will next tee up at the West River Open at Meadowbrook Golf Course.