Edwardsville in title contention in state tourney

On a day when lightning fast greens at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington created havoc for more than half the field at the Class 3A State Golf Tournament, the Edwardsville Tigers held their own as they remain in the hunt for the title

Senior Justin Hemings shot a 2-over par 74 while teammates Ben Tyrrell and Luke Babington also added rounds in the 70’s to help the Tigers move into fifth place after first round play Friday at the state finals.

With Hemings leading the way with his 74 and Tyrrell and Babington adding scores of 77 and 78 respectively, Edwardsville finished the first round with a total of 314, 10 shots behind leader Hinsdale Central (304), but only one stroke behind Lake Forest and Barrington, who are currently tied for third place at 313.

“Can we make up 10 strokes? I think we can although Hinsdale Central is awfully good,” Edwardsville coach Dene Schickedanz said. “But I do think we’ll come out and play better tomorrow.

Cale Ambuehl and Zach Trimpe added rounds of 85 for Edwardsville which seemed right at home on the fast greens at the Den on Friday. Hemings, whose 74-74 puts him in fourth place in the individual competition, made three long putts on three of his final four holes to finish at 2-over for the day.

“I honestly feel that playing the sectional tournament at (Alton) Spencer T. Olin on Monday helped us today because of the speed of the greens,” Schickedanz said. Had we not gotten to play on greens which were as fast on Monday, I doubt very much if we’d been in fifth place right now.”

Among the local individuals competing were David Crosby, of Belleville West, who shot 85 and Logan Harris, of O’Fallon, who fired an 85

Class 2A

Matthew McCarthy recovered from a tough start to shoot a 78 while seniors Michael Cook, Scott Semko and Carson VonAlst added rounds of 86 as Althoff finds itself in ninth place after the opening round of play at the Class 2A State Tournament on Friday at Weibring Golf Course in Normal.

Making its fifth state tournament appearance in the last six years, Althoff finished first round place with a score of 340, 25 strokes behind heavily favored Morton, which shot 315 on Friday. The Crusaders are 16 strokes out of third place heading into the final 18 holes.

Brode Portell, of Highland, is currently tied for 63rd place after shooting an 86.

Class 1A

After one day at the Class A State Tournament, the Mater Dei Knights are in the trophy hunt while junior Tyler Goebel is in the title hunt at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington.

Ignoring chilly conditions and fast greens, Goebel shot a 5-over par 77 and is tied for fifth place in the individual competition — two strokes behind leader Varun Chopra of Urbana who shot a 75.

Mater Dei, which shot 336 and is in fifth place and 15 strokes behind tournament leader Byron (321), also receiv ed a score of 82 from Nic Hollenkamp and an 88 from Andrew Rivera.

While Mater Dei is well within striking distance heading into the final round, Nashville struggled Friday. The Hornets are 12th in the 12-team field after shooting a 383 score. Tyler Wall led the way with an 86.

Gibault’s Zach Heet shot 93 on Friday.

Class A Girls

For the defending state champion Althoff Crusaders it proved to be a tough day on the links on Friday at Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur.

Sophomore Tia Kimbrough shot an 82 and senior Gabby David added an 85 but the rest of the Crusaders struggled through a tough first round of play as Althoff finds itself in fifth place after shooting a first round total of 363.

Senior Alaina Irwin added a 97 and Heather Gosebrink shot 99 for Althoff which trails Massac County by 27 strokes heading into the final roun d which will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Althoff is only 16 strokes behind Rochester in the battle for the third place trophy.

“We aren’t going to blame the cold weather or the wind. We’re not about making excuses. The simple truth is that we just didn’t come ready to play today,” a disappointed Crusaders coach Tim Gehrs said. “Tia (Kimbrough) played well, but Gabby and Alaina both left a lot of strokes out there.

“I know how disappointed they are. But we’re going to sit down and talk tonight (Friday) and I think we’ll play better tomorrrow. We’re not too far back. We can still bring hom a trophy.”

Waterloo senior Haley Faus shot 81 on Friday and is in eighth place. Mikaleen Lawrence ofMater Dei fired an 88 while Hope Rueter of Nashville shot a 108.

Class AA Girls

The O’Fallon Panthers first ever trip to the state tournament proved to be a tough one on Friday as coach Chris Eddy’s sophomore dominated team shot a 376 and is 12th after first round play at Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur.

Sophomore Emily Marrs led the way with an 85 while Brooke Boatman and Alyssa McMinn both shot 95.

Senior Natalie Fix rounded out the Panthers top four scores with a 101.

Brianna Benardin of Triad shot a first round 89.

Dean Criddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean