The 2018 season came to a close for the Highland boys golf team on Monday, Oct. 8 as they ventured to Carbondale for the Class 2A sectional tournament at Hickory Ridge Golf Course.
Highland battled through a course that had an unforgiving back nine holes, and firm greens and had decent scores but the Bulldogs came up just short of the cut off score of 78 for qualifying individuals in the tournament.
Still, it was a worthwhile final outing for sophomores Jaxton Black, Reid Koishor, Jake Brauns, Clayton Mallard and Evan Sutton.
“I was playing five sophomores and only one of them had played in the sectional last year so there was a lot of nerves, which was to be expected,” Highland coach Brent James said. “The course was playing a little tougher than expected, so the cut was a little higher but the boys stuck to their game and they shot about what we have shot in a lot of our 18-hole tournaments.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Two Bulldogs just narrowly missed making the cut for the IHSA Class 2A tournament, as Mallard and Sutton led the club with both shooting an 80. Sutton played in the sectional last year as a freshman.
“Both of them shot 80 and that’s a very solid number out there the way the course was playing yesterday,” James said. “Clayton was a little lower than his season average.”
Both players struggled on the back nine as the final four holes were loaded with bunkers, close trees and tight fairways.
“Those final four holes were very tough and if you try to be a little bit aggressive, you’re going to pay the costs,” James said. “Evan played sectionals last year and he ended up playing a very solid round.”
Black shot a 97 while Koishor (95) and Jake Brauns (89) rounded out the scoring for Highland in the tournament.
“I was happy with the way the boys played,” James said. “The course was tough and the boys grinded the whole way.”
Although the Bulldogs did not get any individual state qualifiers out of this year sectional, they left feeling good about their prospects for next year.
“Hopefully, today gave them some valuable experience to cash in on in the next couple of years,” James said. “I hope this serves as motivation for them to work even harder next season.”