Kuhn out in front early

—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Sam kuhn attempts a putt at the Country Club. For more photos, visit CU at messengernews.net

Sam Kuhn was close a year ago.

Now, the 2007 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate is hoping to start a new championship era in the women’s division of the Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota Webster County golf tournament.

Kuhn carded a steady 77 on Saturday at the Fort Dodge Country Club to open up a seven-stroke advantage over defending titleist Delaney Conrad.

Last year, Kuhn finished narrowly behind Conrad for the top spot, shooting a 77-81–158 to the Southeast Valley High School standout’s 155. Kuhn, whose maiden name is Sam Pingel, had to try and rally back from a six-shot deficit following Conrad’s opening-round 71 in 2018.

This time around, Kuhn will be in the catbird seat as the tourney shifts to Lakeside on Sunday.

“I tried really hard to play one shot at a time and not pay too much attention to the score,” Kuhn said. “It’s fun to play well, even though I had plenty of not-so-great shots. Thankfully, I also had a few birdies.

“It will be fun to try and play well again (Sunday) to see if I can win it.”

Seven-time women’s open division queen Kelsey Felch (89) is in third, followed by her mother, Deann Faiferlick (94).

Kuhn “has been playing about twice a week” leading up to the annual mid-July competition, which is presented by The Messenger.

“I really enjoy playing in this event,” Kuhn said.

The senior lead is shared by defending champ Roxanne Kuhlman and 2016 winner Dee Cummins-Thiele. Both turned in 86s on Saturday.

Peg Christensen, the 2013 and ’17 winner, is three strokes back at 89.