As a team, they didn’t quite make the state cut, but the Highland boys golf team still managed to get a few individuals through to the state tournament this weekend.
The Bulldogs finished sixth in the team standings with a team score of 332. Benton won the team competition, shooting a score of 313.
“I was proud of them,” Highland coach Thomas James said. “We were teed off with the top three schools in the sectional going in and they kind of stepped up to the plate. And I thought that going in 330 would be a good number for us ... at 332, we were right there.”
HHS had two golfers advance to the Class 2A tournament as Jaxton Black and Evan Sutton made the cut.
Sutton and Black tied at 13th place overall, both shooting an 80 and finishing 8 over par for the day. Black’s tee position was determined by his sectional score and after playing in the four spot all season, he moved to the one spot for the sectional.
“Jaxton hasn’t played one all year, so I wasn’t sure how that was going to play out, but he rose to the occasion,” James said. “He was playing with three of the top players in the sectional and never once did I feel like he didn’t belong there.”
“Evan, tee to green was very good,” James said. “The greens were a little furry after an hour and a half frost delay and he had a little issue adjusting to that, so his number doesn’t really reflect his ball-strike (ability). He navigated the course well.”
Other finishers for the Bulldogs included Jake Brauns and Reid Koishor, who tied for 31st place shooting an 86 each. Both were 14 over par.
Jack Massa rounded out the Highland lineup placing 41st, as he shot an 87 and finished 15 over par.
Highland’s sixth place finish landed them just three spots out of the top for state qualifying.
“It was kind of a tale of two courses. Front side was pretty flat, trees were not much of a factor and backside was tighter, tree-line and severe elevation changes, so it was a tricky course. If a couple of shots go differently maybe we have a couple of more guys get through or we get through as a team,” James said.
Black and Sutton traveld to Prarie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington on Thursday, Oct. 17, for the opening round of the Class 2A tournament.
“Last year, the IHSA instituted a cut and that will be on Friday and that will dictate whether we get to play on Saturday or not,” James said. “We don’t want them to lose sight that this is what we’ve been working for and to kind of look back and enjoy the experience.”
Sutton advanced to the second round at the Class 2A golf tournament at Weibring Golf Club in Bloomington with a qualifying score of 79 and 8 over par.
Girls golf team has tough outing in sectionals
On the girls side, things did not work out quite as well for the Lady Bulldogs.
After qualifying at the Class 1A Effingham St. Anthony Regional at Effingham Country Club on Thursday, the golf gods did not smile on Claire Korte, Meredith Kleinman, and Lilly Barker of Highland.
All three competed hard but missed the cut for the state tournament in the Class 1A Sectional at West Berwick Golf Course in Mt. Carmel on Monday.
“They kind of had a rough day,” Lady Bulldogs coach Ashley Delm said. “The girls had some tough holes and didn’t end up making it on to state.”
Korte shot a 108, Kleinmann shot a 106, and Barker finished with a 112.
The scores were well off the low 80’s needed to advance to the state tournament but on the whole, the sectional experience proved to be an enjoyable one for the trio.
“Leading up to this point they had improved a lot throughout the season which I’m very happy with how they have done,” Delm said. “I was really proud of the girls and how they made it on to sectionals.”