The Edwardsville Tigers were bittterly disappointed a year ago when their dreams of a trip to the Class 3A State Golf Tournament came up two strokes short at the Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional.
On a breezy Monday afternoon at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course, the ’15 Tigers took no chances of being disappointed again.
Sophomore Tanner White shot a brilliant 1-under par 71 while senior Justin Hemings added a 76 to pace the Tigers attack as Edwardsville claimed the team championship at the Alton Sectional.
In earning its trip to the state finals, Edwardsville finished with a 308 score as it outlasted (New Lenox) Providence Catholic (314) and Homewood-Flossmoor (318) for the championship.
And it was White, who won the Southwestern Conference title at an equally demanding layout at Stonewolf Golf Course in Fairview Heights two weeks ago, who was the catalyst as he defeated Jack Mulligan of Homewood-Flossmoor for the championship.
“Last year when we came so close to qualifying and missed by two shots.... that was tough to take. We were really motivated to make it this time,’’ White said. “One of my goals today was to play well and help the team advance. I think the fact that we have played here (Olin) a few times and know the course was an advantage. My 71 was the lowest I have shot here. It was a good round.’’
The win lifts Edwardsville into the Class 3A State Tournament which begins on Friday at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington. Providence Catholic and Homewood Flossmoor also advanced. Among the individuals who moved on were O’Fallon junior Logan Harris who shot a 76 while Belleville West senior David Crosby also earned a trip to Bloomington this weekend with a 75, which was good enough to help him place fourth on Monday.
Rounding out the top four scores for Edwardsville were Ben Tyrrell who shot 80 and Luke Babington added an 81. The performance had to have special meaning for Edwardsville coach Dene Schickedanz, who was the former head professional at Spencer. T. Olin.
“I’m very proud of these boys. Coming as close to getting out a year ago and then falling short, I know how much they wantes to get back to the state tournament,’’ Schickedanz said. “I think alot of our success stems from the closeness this team has. They’re pulling for each other.
“Tanner (White) shooting a 71 on this golf course with the greens the way they were and with some of the tough pin placements... is just an outstanding round. But as it has been all year, it was a team effort.
Belleville West’s Crosby didn’t have the advantage of having the Maroon team with him, but it didn’t matter as he fashioned a solid round of 75. Crosby is the first West player since Cade Dibadj qualified in 2011, to earn a trip to Bloomington.
“I just tried to keep it in the fairway and hit greens. I had two birdies but I didn’t make any real mistakes. It was a good round,’’ Crosby said. “My goal was to get to state and being a senior, I just want to go up, play well and enjoy the experience.’’
Harris is O’Fallon’s first state qualifier since Adam Serrano earned a bid more then a decade ago.
“I was nervous this morning when I teed off, but I usually am when I play in a big tournament like this,’’ Harris said. “I hit the ball very well and just tried to make pars. I think I only missed one fairway all day. I thought it would take a score in the mid to upper 70s to advance and fortunately I was able to put a good round together.’’