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ALTON - The Alton Redbirds finished a disappointing fourth place at regionals last Wednesday, Sept. 27, at Belk Park Golf Course. Only the top three schools move on as a team.
The top 10 individuals outside of those schools also qualify. The same thing works to qualify for the state tournament.
So, after being bested by O'Fallon for the third and final team spot, the Redbirds had to settle for three individual spots, seniors Alex Siatos and Cooper Haegen, and junior Sam Ottwell.
Siatos shot a three-over-par 75 at Belk Park Golf Course last Wednesday. Ottwell shot a 78 and Hagen shot an 81.
The three took to Monday's Pekin Sectional at Lick Creek Golf Course vying to earn a spot at state.
The only way to do so would be in the top 10 individuals and it was a blistering cut line at seven-over-par 79.
Ottwell ended up shooting two-over-par 74, earning himself a second-place finish at the sectional and a state berth. Siatos shot an 80 and Hagen came up with an 89.
"As we expected him to do, Sam was atop the leaderboard all day giving himself another chance to win a sectional title," Alton golf coach Dylan Dudley said.
" I am proud of him bouncing back from a disappointing regional performance. He has put himself back into the conversation of those who can win a state championship this upcoming weekend at The Den."
For their performances, Sam Ottwell, Alex Siatos, and Cooper Hagen are all Auto Butler Car Wash Athletes of the Month for Alton High School.
Dudley continued to speak highly of his state qualifier.
"The best thing about Sam is his mental makeup and his ability to move on to the next shot. He is obviously a really good golfer, with above-average skills, but his ability to be mentally tough when things do not go his way separates him from the field," Dudley said.
"He has a few bad rounds for his standard but you can count on him to bounce back and put himself in contention. The big stage of the state finals will not intimidate him whatsoever. If you asked him he would tell you he expects to compete for a state title this weekend, but he will also tell you he is competing against the golf course and nobody else! He knows the course and knows what he has to do, it is going to be a fun weekend watching him compete."
The Class 3A state tournament will be held on Oct. 6-7 at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington, Ill.
Ottwell is scheduled to tee off on the back nine at 10 a.m.
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