Dibadj has been burning up the links for Maroons

News-DemocratSeptember 11, 2013 

Belleville West golf coach Clayton Fisher calls Maroons senior Cade Dibadj a coach's dream.

"Cade has what I would call the perfect golfer's personality,'' Fisher said. "He's very level-headed, very intelligent and he knows what has to be done and how to make it happen.

"He could be the same golfer he was last year and still be one of the best players in the area. Cade is a coach's dream as far as golfers go.''

Poised and mature beyond his years, Dibadj entered the 2013 season as the top player on a Maroons squad which returned its top four players from a team which won the Class 3A Alton Regional last season and is expected to contend for a berth in the Class 3A state tournament next month in Bloomington.

"That's the goal. Last year we won the regional and then we went to sectionals and just didn't play well as a team,'' Dibadj said. "It was disappointing. But that's golf. One day, 18 holes.

"My goal is to get to state and help the team get to state. Some of my best friends are on this team. It would mean a lot for us to make it.''

One of four seniors -- along with Parker Beine, Trevor Brown and Michael Len -- on the Maroons' roster, Dibadj has done his part in helping West get off to a fast start with a 7-0 dual-match record and two tournament championships to their credit in the first four weeks of the season.

His opening round of 77 at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Alton, helped West place second at the Alton Invitational. Dibadj then shot 31 to win the Triple Lakes Invitational and shot 71 at Tamarack Country Club in Shiloh at the St. Clair County Tournament, finishing one shot in back of Althoff senior Michael Johnson.

The Maroons won both the Triple Lakes and St. Clair County events.

Carrying a 9-hole average of 36, Dibadj has led the way for a Maroons' squad which has been one of the best in Southern Illinois during the first month of the season.

"I feel like I'm playing well and that I've played pretty well so far this season,'' Dibadj said. "I worked hard and played golf all summer. I played in several Gateway PGA events and also in one AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) event in Indiana.

"The goal was to become more consistent overall and to work on my short game. It's around the greens where you can pick up or lose shots in a hurry.''

Hard work is nothing new for Dibadj, who is also unique in another way. A member of the West volleyball and basketball teams, Dibadj is a rare three-sport athlete at West.

"I think I'm a lot stronger after playing basketball and I really like playing volleyball. Austin Betz is a good coach and it's just a lot of fun for me,'' Dibadj said. "Playing sports all year long and going from season to season, it's difficult for me. I just concentrate on one sport at a time and then move on.

"Actually, baseball was my favorite sport growing up. I think I may have gotten burned out on it and that's basically when I started playing a lot of golf.''

Should Dibadj qualify as an individual or West qualify as a team for the state finals, it will mark his second appearance at the Class 3A state tournament, which is held at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington.

Dibadj qualified as an individual in his sophomore season.

Fisher feels that West, which also has gotten solid play from junior Austin Cleveland and sophomore David Crosby, may have its best chance in many years to reach the state finals.

Why? Depth.

"My top four players have all been under par at least once this season and Austin (Cleveland) and David Crosby have also posted some solid scores,'' Fisher said. "This is the best team I've had since I've been here, because we have four seniors who have been around since they were freshmen, worked hard and gotten better each year.

"Now they're reaping the rewards of their hard work."

An excellent student, Dibadj hopes to be playing college golf next season. He has yet to pick a school.

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