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PONTOON BEACH – Edwardsville and Marquette Catholic got their girls golf seasons off to a great start Tuesday afternoon as the Tigers and Explorers claimed victories at the Madison County Girls Golf Championship at The Legacy Golf Course, a par-71, 5,119-yard layout.

The Tigers got a 6-over 77 from Sydney Sahuri and an 8-over 79 from Addesyn Zellar as EHS shot a team 334 to take the large-school competition over Collinsville, who fired a team 414 for second place; Triad finished third at 436, a stroke ahead over fourth-place Granite City.

The Explorers had a team 360 to take the small-school division, with Ellie Kane leading the way with an 8-over 79 and getting an 18-over 89 from Annie Kane to go on to the win. Civic Memorial was second in the competition with a team 391, lead by a 19-over 90 from Isabella Roberts and a 98 from Maisy Watson; Roxana was third with a team 474, with Bailey Sharpmack firing a 6-over 77 to lead the way.

Sharpmack and Sahuri shared medalist honors on the day with their 77s.

“It is a great start (to the season),” said EHS coach Abby Comerford. “It was the first day of school (at Edwardsville Tuesday) and having the tournament right off the bat, it's a good start to see how the girls are doing, and they did great today.”

Conditions were somewhat warm and humid Tuesday, but the course conditions were good. “It was a little warm today,” Comerford said, “but it was still beautiful out – no rain, the sun was shining. The team did great; they hand out 10 individual medals (to the top 10 scores on the day) and every single one of our girls was able to medal, so it's great to see the girls are out there and they're playing well.”

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With it being the opening meet of the year, there's definitely room for the Tigers to improve. “Some of the girls, as they came in, said 'I left so many shots out on the course'; it's the first tournament, so we have to clean it up a little bit.”

“I'm very proud of the girls,” said Explorer coach Deb Walsh. “They did a good job; it's our first outing, so we get out there and our scores weren't great, but they weren't bad either, so we're going to fix them and it'll get better.

“It's an awesome way to start the season and get our first win.”

Like every other team, the Explorers have room to improve, Walsh felt. “My top four are strong, good golfers and my five and six are going to get there; we just have to work some – for some of them, it was the first time they've played in any type of tournament. They did well today – I'm very proud of them.”

The Explorers kept pressing on despite the uncomfortable playing conditions, which pleased Walsh. “I think not giving up was the biggest part (of MCHS' effort),” Walsh said. “It got hot, the conditions weren't great – the course conditions were great, the weather conditions were not.

“We've got to get it closer to the hole so we can for sure make two putts instead of three; we made a lot of three-putts today, so that's what I think we need to work on the most, just getting our putts down.”

Other scoring players for the Explorers on the day included Lauren Walsh with a 91 and Anna Lawless with a 101, while the Tigers also got an 88 from Meora Schaefer and a 90 from Jessica Benson to count on their team score. Other large-school team leaders on the day included Collinsville's Claire Rendleman with an 88, Granite City's Megan Keel with an 84 and Triad's Liz Young with a 104.

The Explorers take on crosstown rival Alton at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course at Gordon Moore Park in a dual competiton at 3:30 p.m. today, while the Tigers' next meet is Saturday at the Joliet Township Girls Golf Invitational, a Ryder Cup-style meet at Wedgewood Country Club in Joliet; that competition begins at 7 a.m. Saturday.

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