For 17 holes on Friday, Fort Dodge Amateur playing partners Justin Schulte and Nate Schill pushed each other by playing mistake-free golf.
Schulte finished his first round tied atop the open division leaderboard. Like the rest of the field now, Schill has some work to do.
Schulte carded a three-under par 68 at the Fort Dodge Country Club to seize early control in the 64th annual event. The current Urbandale resident is tied with Iowa State team member and former West Des Moines Dowling standout Blake Waller, who also turned in a 68.
Messenger photos by Eric Pratt
Nate Schill, a former Prairie Valley standout,?tees off during the Fort Dodge Amateur men’s golf tournament Friday at the Fort Dodge Country Club. Schill carded a one-under par 70.
In search of his fourth FD Am senior championship, Fort Dodge's Dave Sergeant is deadlocked with Joel Yunek of Mason City at one-under 70. Three others - including Webster City's Larry Ross - are a shot back at even-par.
Schulte was actually trailing Schill - a former standout athlete at Prairie Valley High School - by a single shot heading into the par-four 18th, but a triple-bogey staggered Schill back to the pack at one-under 70.
''Neither one of us had anything worse than a par to that point,'' Schulte said. ''I don't hit it as far as some of the young guys, but I stayed out of trouble and my putting was consistent.
''It was a lot of fun, and the course was absolutely perfect. The greens are just incredible - so true. This is always such a great place to play.''
Schulte birdied 5, 14 and 15. Schill eagled No. 10 and birdied 15 and 16 before the lone blemish at 18.
''I got a little quick and into some tree trouble at the end,'' said Schill, a DMACC team member who won the Manson Open last weekend. ''But it was an awesome day and I had a lot of fun with Justin and the rest of our group. I can't complain (about shooting 70), even though it could have been better.''
Waller had an eventful round, with birdies at 5, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15 and 18 but bogeys at 4 and 12 and a double-bogey at the par-three 8th.
A pair of familiar faces are just a single stroke back. Three-time Fort Dodge city tournament runner-up Tanner Kesterson fired a 69, as did Andrew Huseman - the son of local chiropractor Bill Huseman and grandson of long-time FDSH athletic director Dutch Huseman.
Kesterson, a sophomore-to-be on the Oklahoma State University golf squad who has extended family in Fort Dodge, birdied 6, 7 and 18. His lone bogey came at No. 8. Huseman birdied 1, 5, 11 and 12, with bogeys at 8 and 17.
''It's been kind of a grind, but I'm getting more comfortable and knocking the rust off,'' said Kesterson, who recently took three weeks off because of an injured back. ''My driver was working really well, but I didn't really make any significant putts. I'll definitely take where I'm at, though.''
Schill is tied with former Humboldt standout Jeff Panek and Carroll's Tanner Ludwig at one-under. Just seven of the open division's 87 players broke par despite pristine playing conditions.
Two-time FD Am champ and former ex-Dodger all-stater Cory Braunschweig is in a pack at even-par. Kevin Ault, the open division winner in both 2010 and '11. shot a two-over 73 on Friday.
Sergeant had four birdies - at 7, 12, 13 and 16 - with bogeys on 6, 15 and 18. Yunek birdied 3 and 15, with a bogey at No. 17. Between the two of them, Sergeant and Yunek have six of the last 12 FD Am senior trophies, with Sergeant prevailing in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2010. Yunek was crowned in 2004 and 2005.
The 140 tournament participants reverse tee times by five hours today; Friday's afternoon golfers start in the morning, and vice versa. The top 36 players - with ties - advance to the championship flight Sunday on the open side, with the 16 seniors making the cut for tomorrow.
Temperatures are only expected to reach 82 degrees this afternoon, with a 60 percent chance of rain by mid-day.