MILLSTADT — What started out to be just an average round of golf turned out to be a special one for Belleville West senior Cade Dibadj on Thursday at the Triple Lakes Invitational.
Dibadj used a red-hot putting touch to finish his round with a string of six straight birdies and shot a 6-under-par 31 to help lead the Maroons to an eight-stroke win over Althoff at Triple Lakes Golf Course.
Last season's Class 3A Alton Regional champion, Dibadj started his round with three straight pars then played his final six holes at 6 under to finish with his 31, giving him a two-stroke win over Belleville East senior Michael Fuehne.
"It started out just like a normal day when I started with the three pars. Then I made birdie on the fourth hole and it just kind of took off from there,'' Dibadj said. "I played a lot this summer and I really concentrated on improving my short game. I hit the ball close to the pin all day and I was putting very well.''
The Maroons' Drew Renner and Trevor Brown both shot 33 to win the best-ball competition, which was held in place of the Bob Goalby/Jay Haas Invitational.
The Haas/Goalby Invitational was canceled this year because the tournament site -- St. Clair Country Club course in Belleville -- is under renovation.
To replace that event, West coach Clayton Fisher came up with the idea of a unique early season tournament, the Triple Lakes Invitational.
The six teams had two players compete in stroke play and also placed two-person teams in a nine-hole scramble format and a two-man best-ball format. The four scores were then added to give the school their final scores.
"Each school is allowed 18 dates a year in which they can play tournaments or matches, so when the Haas-Goalby Tournament was canceled, each us needed another event to play and so we came up with this idea of kind of a fun event,'' West coach Clayton Fisher said. "We just thought this was just a fun little tournament with formats we see often.
"I thought it worked well.''
Senior Parker Beine added a 37 for West, which finished with a 136 total. Althoff, which got a 35 from the team of Carson VonAlst and Michael Cook in the scramble format, was second with a score of 144.
Columbia rounded out the top three schools with a 145, while O'Fallon (150), East (153) and Freeburg (168) rounded out the six teams.
O'Fallon's team of Adam Barber and Tyler Scimio had the low score in the scramble format, shooting a 33.
But the day belonged to Dibadj and the Maroons.
The 31 was a personal best for Dibadj, who has been known to shoot low numbers going into his fourth varsity season for West.
As a sophomore Dibadj shot 66 at the St. Clair County Meet at Tamarack Country Club in Shiloh.
West, meanwhile, should be one of the top teams in the Southwestern Conference during the 2013 season.
"I thought we played well today and Cade (Dibadj) just went out today and had a special round,'' Fisher said. "We've got a lot of kids who have played a lot of golf and so we're supposed to have a good team.
"We played well at Alton earlier in the week and we played well today. We're looking good so far.''