Cooler weather conditions and gusty winds made an already challenging Belk Park Course in Wood River that much more difficult on Monday at the Southwestern Conference Boys Golf Tournament. But it didn’t seem to bother the Edwardsville Tigers.
The premier Class 3A player in southern Illinois for much of the ‘16 season, Edwardsville junior Ben Tyrrell was steady as he shot a 1-over par 73 to take medalist honors while three teammates added top five finishes as the Tigers posted a 28-stroke win over O’Fallon.
The title is the 16th in the last 17 years for Edwardsville. Collinsville won the championship in 2010.
The latest in a long line of top tier No. 1 Tigers players — a list which includes ‘15 Class 3A state champion Justin Hemings — Tyrrell continued his superb season with a solid if not spectacular round of golf. Battling tough north winds and tricky greens, Tyrrell still managed three birdies as he held off Tigers teammates Tanner White (74) and Spencer Patterson (75) for the championship.
“The wind out here usually comes from the South. Today it was coming from the north and that makes this (Belk Park) a completely different golf course,” Tyrrell said. “I had a little trouble early adjusting. The greens were a little faster and I had a couple of three putts on the front nine which didn’t help. But I was able to get it together better on the back nine.
“The weather has been warm. Usually, we’ll have one cooler day at Quincy or someplace during the season, but we haven’t had any this year. This (weather) today was probably good because its more like what we might see here heading into the postseason.”
Belleville East senior Austin Galloway broke up the string of Edwardsville players when he placed fourth with a 76 on Monday, but Edwardsville’s Luke Babington was fifth with a 77. The Tigers finished with a score of 299, 28 strokes less than runner-up O’Fallon, which had a score of 327.
Belleville East, led by Galloway’s 76, placed third with a 335 score.
A new era in Tigers golf
The title on Monday at Belk Park wasn’t just the Tigers 16th in 17 years. But it was also the first for first year co-coaches Adam Tyler and Doug Wright who took over for highly-successful coach Dene Schickedanz who resigned earlier this year.’
And if the performance by the Tigers on Monday is any indication, nothing had changed. The Edwardsville boys golf program continued to be one of the deepest and most talented in the state.
Tyler, a longtime assistant under Schickedanz, said he was pleased at how his team played on a tough day to compete.
“The course was playing tough today. The wind was blowing which made the greens a little faster and you put pins in certain positions and the course can play tough,” Tyler said. “We have played here a few times this year and I think that help us today. We hit a lot of fairways.
“The conditions and the competition we’re going to see from here on out is going to get a lot tougher. It was good that we got to play in this conditions today.”
O’Fallon a solid second
Another one of the state’s best — Logan Harris of O’Fallon — placed sixth overall with a 77. O’Fallon also got rounds of 81 from Matt Mannisi and 84’s from Taylor Patterson and Chase Holland.
Rounding out the top eight individuals on Monday were Alton’s Dalton Lahue who shot 78 and Granite City’s Riley Brown who shot 79.