Francks let a few holes get away from him Tuesday in the opening round of the Class 4A state boys championship, but a pair of eagles – on the par-5 third and 16th holes – allowed the Olympia High standout to escape with the overnight lead.
The reigning Narrows League champion shot a 2-under-par 70 at The Creek at Qualchan in Spokane and holds a one-stroke lead over Eastlake High’s Evan Alston and Li Wang.
Defending champion James Feutz of Bellarmine Prep shot 76. He is tied for 19th.
Francks said he was surprised his score stood up as the low round.
“I was really up and down with the two eagles, but I threw a couple strokes away,” Francks said. “I am surprised I had the lead with that score. I expected others to go lower. Nobody did.”
On the 530-yard third hole, Francks hit 3-wood off the tee and faced a shot of just under 250 yards to the green. He hit another 3-wood, and his ball narrowly missed a water hazard as it ran up to the green.
He sank a 20-foot putt for eagle.
At No. 16, Francks reached the green with a 4-iron second shot, but was left with a 40-foot putt for eagle – which he rolled in.
“Sometimes you make putts,” said Francks, the reigning Pacific Northwest Golf Association Junior Amateur champion.
Besides the eagles, he had a birdie and three bogeys on the scorecard.
Teammate Pat Nugent also made the cut after a 76, but Brendan McCauley (86) missed the cut.
Feutz – Francks’ chief rival from the same league – knows he has to shoot a low round today to give the leader something to think about.
“I will make him earn it tomorrow, if I have anything to do about it,” Feutz said. “But (Francks) is playing well.”
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 firstname.lastname@example.org