EDWARDSVILLE – The Edwardsville High School boys’ golf team narrowly missed qualifying for this weekend’s IHSA Class 3A State tournament by two strokes, shooting a 332 as a team to finish tied for fourth with Normal Community in Monday’s Sectional tournament, held at Sunset Hills Country Club in Edwardsville.
In the Class 1A Sectional hosted by Effingham St. Anthony at the Effingham County Club, D.J. Villhard of Father McGivney Catholic qualified for State by shooting a 78. The top three teams were Hillsboro, the host Bulldogs, and Carmi, while Carmi’s Oakley Gee was the medalist, shooting a 72.
Homewood-Flossmor won the meet with a 311, with Normal University the runner-up, shooting a 320. Lockport claimed the final team spot by shooting 330, while O’Fallon finished ninth in the field with a 347. The Vikings’ Hayden Henry was the medalist, firing a 74. No area individuals qualified for State.
Over in the Class 2A Sectional held at Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Carbondale, both the teams of Marquette Catholic and Triad did not advance to the State meet. The Explorers finished in ninth with a score of 336 while the Knights were 11th with a 352. Charleston, Belleville Althoff Catholic, and Benton finished in the top three places to advance.
The Explorers did have one individual go through to state, as senior Sam Cogan shot a 75 to qualify for State. No other area players advanced. Tanner Romine of Mattoon was the medalist with a 72.
“It was unfortunate,” said Tigers coach Adam Tyler of his team's near state miss. “Both the course and the conditions were playing tough, and it was unfortunate that we missed out on state by two shots.”
The Tigers’ top player was Blake Burris, who shot an 81, but all six players were within four strokes of each other. That consistency was the hallmark of the team all season.
“We were what we have been all year,” Tyler said. “We really didn’t have a number one player, but five or six kids who shot close together all year.”
And looking back on the season, Tyler saw a lot of good things all year, and his players had fun.
“I think the kids really enjoyed the season,” Tyler said. “We were in about 18 tournaments this year, and I think we won about five of them. We won about a third of the tournaments we played, and that’s very good for a season.”
And it was a very special season for Tyler, as he saw his seniors play for the last time. He started with them as the team’s freshman coach, and has guided them through the links the last four years.
“It’s kind of bittersweet to see the seniors moving on,” Tyler said. “I’ve been with these guys as freshmen, and now seeing them impress on the varsity level.”
The three State tournaments will be played this Friday and Saturday at courses around the Bloomington-Normal area. The Class 1A meet will be played at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington, the Class 2A tournament will be played at the D.A Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State, while the Class 3A tournament will tee off at The Den at Fox Greek Golf Course.