WOOD RIVER - A very young Edwardsville boys golf team started its season with an all-freshman lineup and showed up-and-coming talent with a ninth-place finish at the East Alton-Wood River Hickory Stick Invitational tournament held Monday at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River.

The Tigers shot 369 to come in ninth in the 10-team event, which was won by Mascoutah, who shot a 312 as a team. The runner-up was Triad, with a 319, followed by Marquette Catholic, who was third at 334. Jersey was fourth with a 346, the host Oilers tied for fifth with Civic Memorial, with both shooting a 355, Granite City was seventh at 361, Father McGivney Catholic came in eighth at 367, and Metro-East Lutheran was 10th with a 434.

It was the first-ever high school tournament for the all-freshman lineup, and according to head coach Adam Tyler, it was a learning experience for the players.

The Tigers are set to play Tuesday in the Alton Tee Off tournament at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Gordon Moore Park, and will have their more experienced players available, including senior team leader Hayden Moore. Tyler feels that the younger players will pick up more experience as the season progresses.

"Tomorrow, we'll have our team leader, Hayden Moore, out there," Tyler said. "But today was a learning experience for the kids, and tomorrow will be a learning experience also."

"For a lot of our kids, it was their first high school tournament ever," Tyler said, "so we took five freshmen. I think we could have done better, and I think the kids would have told you they could have done better, but for me, it was about what I expected somewhat. We were a young team going up against a bunch of older varsity players, so it was a good tournament to learn what it's all about."

The young Tigers did well under the circumstances, learning about what it takes to play in tournaments such as the Hickory Stick.

"It's kind of like what I talked about earlier," Tyler said. "You can talk about it a lot, but getting out there and playing was the best experience the kids could have had. When you take a bunch of 14-year-olds, and they're going to be here for four years, it's better to take them out and put them into teaching situations. We're really young and inexperienced, and it'll be fun to watch them grow over the years."

The young Tiger lineup was led by Bennett Babington, who shot a 13-over-par 85, followed by Kolton Wright's 92, a 96 from both Carter Crow and Tad Thiems, and a 102 from Drew Suhre.

Mascoutah's Colin Waltsgott was the individual winner, shooting an even-par 72, with Metro-East's Antonio Ybarra coming in second at 74. and the Indians' Brendan Brock third with a 75.

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