Edwardsville sophomore Tanner White made his first tournament title one to remember on Tuesday at Stonewolf Golf Club.
Listed as the No. 5 player on a deep Tigers squad, White jumped to the head of the pack — at least for the day — as he crafted a career-best 2-under-par 70 as he led Edwardsville to yet another outright Southwestern Conference championship.
With a steady rain falling early and the pressure of a possible tournament title mounting in his last few holes, White remained calm as he put the finishing touches on a round which featured four birdies and only two bogeys, as he posted a six-stroke win over teammate Justin Hemings.
“It was a good day. I hit my drives well and then hit a lot of greens,” White said. “With the exception of a couple holes, when I went into the bunkers, I was able to chip well enough to get up and down for pars and then I made a few putts which helped a lot too.
“I had played here a few (Stonewolf) a few times. I had a practice round here. And I really enjoy the course. It’s not easy. I just wanted to come out, put a good round together and help us win the tournament.”
The consensus top player in Southern Illinois, Hemings added a 76 for Edwardsvile. Cole Ambuehl and Luke Babington added rounds of 78 and 79, respectively, for the Tigers whose team total of 303 was 25 strokes better than second-place O’Fallon.
Belleville East placed third with a 336 score. Belleville West (348) and Collinsville (354) rounded out the top five teams.
The win also extends the total domination of the Tigers in the Southwestern Conference.
Undefeated in SWC dual matches during the regular season, Edwardsville’s win clinched an outright league title. The Tigers have either shared or won the conference championship by themselves in 15 of the last 16 years. Collinsville was the outright SWC champion in 2010.
“We’re very proud of our accomplishments in the Southwestern Conference in golf,” Tigers coach Dene Schickedanz said. “Every year one of our goals is to win the Southwestern Conference. It’s very important to our kids, the school and is something the community takes great pride in winning.
“Tanner (White) was just locked in today and just played very well. While I think he started thinking about the round he was shooting in the last two or three holes, he was able to make a great par on the par-5 15th hole ,where he hit his drive into an unplayable lie and was still able to make a par. Team-wise we played well. A 303 on this golf course under some adverse conditions with the rain this morning is an excellent score.”
O’Fallon also played well.
Coach Kevin Kellermann’s team got a third place from junior Logan Harris (77) and a fifth place from senior Elliott Walkington (79), as they clinched the runner-up overall spot in the SWC.
“We’ve had a very good season and while we haven’t won a tournament, we’ve been right in the top two or three every time we’ve played,” Kellermann said. “I think Logan (Harris) has been over 40 once all year and is averaging right at 37.5 for the season and Elliott (Walkington) is a good young man who has worked hard on his game.
“But beyond the golf, all of these kids are high-character individuals. This has been a fun team to coach and to be around.”
Third-place East was led by Hunter Davis, who placed eighth and earned all-SWC honors with an 80. West senior Zach Hanusek also earned all-conference recognition by placing seventh with an 80.
Hanusek earned the seventh-place medal in a scorecard playoff.