It was a challenging day for golf, with cool temperatures and windy conditions, but Audrey Wilke, Geena Budwell and the Highland girls gold team didn’t seem to mind.
Wilke, Budwell and the Bulldogs started early on Wednesday morning and grinded their way to a satisfying second-place finish in the Mississippi Valley Conference Tournament at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River.
The Bulldogs team total was second to tournament champ Civic Memorial, which shot 370. The 405 score on the Par 72 course was the team’s best of the season to date.
“I was very proud of the girls,” Highland coach Ashley DeSelm said. “We shot our lowest 18-hole tournament score [of the season]. It was definitely the coldest weather conditions we’ve played this year and it was windy in the morning.”
Wilke shot an 86 to finish second and claim the Bulldogs’ medalist honors.
“Audrey has been on a good run this year and has been playing really well,” DeSelm said. “She had one hole that kind of cost her and I think she could gotten into first place but she really pulled through [for us]. I couldn’t ask anything better for her.”
Budwell was just as steady on the links as she shot a 105 for the day to claim a medalist spot at 12th place in the tournament.
“Geena has been improving week after week with golf and her scores keep getting lower and lower,” DeSelm said. “I’m very proud of her as well.”
The Bulldogs had to battle wet conditions, remnant of Tuesday’s rainfall. After a slow start, Highland got rolling with solid driving and putting.
“We started off a little bit rocky but they really pulled through,” DeSelm said. “it rained the night before and they allowed the girls to play the ball up in the fairways and that really helped out and was nice for the girls.”
Lia Basden (107), Claire Korte (107), Meridith Kleinmann and Kennedy Klucker (108) rounded out the scoring for the Bulldogs.
Triad (428), Waterloo (447), and Mascoutah (459) all finished behind Highland in the final standings.
The Bulldogs head into the Class 1A Sectional next Wednesday at Effingham Country Club in Effingham confident and playing well.
“I think we’re going to go into regionals with our heads held up high and we’ve been playing better each week,” said DeSelm said. “We’re going to work on our game a lot and work on some areas we have struggled in but I think the girls are ready.”