The 2015 boys high school golf season may only be a week old but already Althoff coach Dan Polites has noticed similarities in team chemistry and maturity between the current Crusaders and his squads which won back-to-back Class 2A state titles in 2011 and 2012.
The Crusaders scores speak for themselves.
Senior Matthew McCarthy shot a 75 while teammates Carson Von Alst (78) and Scott Semko (79) also withstood windy conditions with solid rounds as Althoff captured its third win of the season with a two-stroke triumph on Monday at the St. Clair County Golf Tournament at Tamarack Country Club.
With victories at both the South Seven Conference Preview event and Goalby-Haas Invitational already to its credit, Althoff continued to put up eye-opening scores for this time of the season on Monday. With senior Connor Eghigian adding an 80 on a windy afternoon, Alhoff finished with a score of 314, two strokes better than 2014 champion Mascoutah which finished at 316.
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Mascoutah junior Alex Gorman won the individual title with a 74, one stroke better than McCarthy. Ironically, the title at the county meet is Althoff’s first since it won in 2012. Six weeks later, Althoff won its second straight state crown at Weibring Golf Course in Normal.
“There are similarities between this team and the teams which won the state titles,’’ Polites said. “I would say one of them is the team chemistry. These players all get along great and they have a lot of fun playing golf together. The scores have been very consistent but there is still a long way to go.
“But I’m also proud of this team. To win three tournaments in a week against some good golf programs, I’ll take that.”
Host O’Fallon, two days removed from winning the Quincy Invitational, finished third with a team score of 326, followed by Belleville West (334), Belleville East (340) and Freeburg (385).
An all-state selection a year ago, McCarthy paced Althoff once again with his 75. But the difference proved to be the Crusaders depth. The No. 4 player on the team — Von Alst — had the second best score with a 78 while Semko, the Crusaders No. 6 player added a 79. Eghigian, a senior co-captain, shot 80.
“Four scores of 80 or better and three in the 70s with the strong winds today, we played well. Tamarack (Country Club) is in tremendous condition and to be able to come out here and shoot 314 is a very good score.
“We shot (a 9-hole score) of 147 last week at St. Clair Country Club when we won the Goalby-Haas Tournament and I don’t want to sound over confident, I think this team is capable of shooting eight or nine shots better. We shot 295 and 298 10 days ago during qualifying at Stonewolf (Golf Course). We just need to keep working and improving as the season goes on.
Gorman also was able to handle the windy conditions at Tamarack as he defeated McCarthy by a shot for the individual championship. Gorman made a birdie on hole No. 1 — his 13th hole of the day — but said his goal was just to make pars.
“The birdie on No. 1 gave my a boost going into my final five holes of the day. I had some birdie chances that I just didn’t take advantage of,” Gorman said. “The wind was a factor, but I just tried to his good golf shots and make pars. I had some very good up-and-downs for par and I also made some pretty long par saving putts. I played well.’’
O’Fallon’s Logan Harris placed third with a 77 while David Crosby of Belleville West (78) and Matt Hatley of Mascoutah rounded out the top five — also with a 78,
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.