After a six-year title drought at the season-opening Alton Tee-Off Classic, the Edwardville Tigers returned to the top of the heap Tuesday at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course.
Picking up where he left after a sensational summer, Tigers sophomore Justin Hemings shot a 77 while senior Ty Zeller also shot a 77 to lead the Tigers to a 13-stoke win in the 21-team field.
With perennial tournament champion and Class 3A state power Quincy suffering through a rare off day and finishing in the middle of the pack, the Tigers used the solid play of Hemings and Zeller as well as three other scores of 84 or better to finish with a good team total of 319.
The champonship was the first at the always difficult Spencer T. Olin layout for Edwardsville since 2008.
"Since Quincy has been coming here it had been a while since we had been able to come away with a first-place showing here and so yes, I'm pleased at how we played today," Tigers coach Dene Schickedanz said. "I thought the course played very tough today and while each of our players faced some adversity, they were able to fight through it and post five pretty good scores.
Freshman Ben Tyrell (81) and junior Cale Ambuehl (84) rounded out the Tigers' total of 319, which was 13 shots better then Marquette (332).
Centralia and Springfield both finished with round of 336, while Althoff was next with a team score of 337 to round out the top five teams.
Sam Funderburg, of Springfield, and Michael Holtz, of Marquette, tied for medalist honors, shooting rounds of 76.
Staking an early claim as the top individual player in the metro-east, Hemings shot a 76 without one of his top weapons, that being his trusty driver. The Edwardsville sophomore, who last month placed in the top 10 at the Metropolian Amateur Championship in St. Louis, saw the head of his driver fly off while on the practice range Tuesday.
"He came up to me and said 'coach look at this.' It happened on the range,'' Schickedanz said. "It didn't seem to faze Justin though. He's got the ability to hit his 3-wood 290 yards. He played well.
"And then Ty (Zeller) really came out and gave us a lift. He's a kid who played a lot of baseball this summer, but as our only senior, he's going to be our captain and somebody we're going to count on this year. He birdied the last three holes today to shoot 77. That's very solid."
Fifth-place Althoff was led by junior Matt McCarthy's 78.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at 239-2661 or firstname.lastname@example.org