Solid opening rounds by senior Thomas Ruli (73) and junior Beau Briggs (74) helped St. Paul’s grab the lead in the LHSAA Division I state golf tournament at East Ridge Country Club in Shreveport.

“They both played very well,” said St. Paul’s coach Luke Barwick, in his sixth season. “The course was tough, the wind was blowing pretty good. The greens were hard and fast. So a 73 and 74 are really fantastic scores. They grinded. It didn’t come easy.”

St. Paul’s is in the lead at 308 strokes midway through the tournament.

The Wolves are the defending state champion and seeking the fifth title in school history.

“We are just trying to not think about the end result,” Barwick said. “We just want to stick with what we are doing. I love these guys and I have a lot of faith in them. If we do what we need to do, we will be up there. We may not win it, but we will be up there.”

Homestanding Byrd is second at 310, St. Thomas More is at 312, while Catholic High is six strokes off the pace at 314.

Byrd’s Jeffrey Berry leads the individual competition following his opening 72.

DIVISION II: At Huntington Park Golf Course, Benton’s David Cole fired a 2-under-par to help lift the Tigers to a 308 total and a 12-stroke lead over North DeSoto. E.D. White is third at 326.

North DeSoto’s Matt Ramsey (71) was the only other golfer beside Cole to break par.

DIVISION III: Calvary Baptist is halfway to a fifth straight state golf championship after posting a 3-over 287 team total at East Ridge on Monday.

DIVISION IV: St. Mary’s (334) owns a slim lead entering Tuesday’s final round at Huntington. Opelousas Catholic (338) is second while Cedar Creek (348) has a lot of work to do to win a sixth straight championship.

Opelousas Catholic golfers Jamison Thomasee (73) and Kristian Fontenot (74) lead the individual race.

Girls

In Benton, St. Louis Catholic’s Olivia Hansen shot a 75 to lead the LHSAA Division I girls golf tournament by two strokes over Mary Frances Chauvin of Hammond after the first day of competition. Other scores included top seeded Savannah Ennis of St. Scholastica (86), and Caitlyn Bernard of Chapelle (89).

In Division II, Angelica Harris of McGehee shot a 78 for the lead.