High School Sports

Winter tournaments help golfer to elite honor

Edwardsville golfer Ben Tyrrell chips onto the green on hole 11 during the Southwestern Conference golf tournament at Belk Park golf course. The junior shared BND Golfer of the Year honors with Althoff’s Dylan Davidson and Mascoutah’s Alex Gorman.
Edwardsville golfer Ben Tyrrell chips onto the green on hole 11 during the Southwestern Conference golf tournament at Belk Park golf course. The junior shared BND Golfer of the Year honors with Althoff’s Dylan Davidson and Mascoutah’s Alex Gorman. Derik Holtmann

Edwardsville High School junior Ben Tyrrell spends most of his winter golf season traveling throughout the southern and western United States playing in tournaments against the best junior players in the nation.

The purpose? It’s to get Tyrrell ready for an even busier slate of tournament golf the other three seasons of the year.

“I travel to places like Arizona, California and Florida. It’s a great experience to be able to play against the best players in the country,” Tyrrell said. “Playing on great golf courses helps get you ready for the rest of the year so that when the high school season comes around, I’m ready to go.”

To say that Tyrrell was ready when the 2016 season started would be putting it mildly.

Wasting little time in taking over as the Tigers’ top player following the graduation of 2015 Class 3A state champion Justin Hemings, Tyrrell shot under par rounds of 66 at the Alton Tee-Off Classic and 67 at the Madison County Championship at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River.

“When I practice, I spend about 75 to 80 percent of the time chipping and putting and the other 20 to 25 percent I spend on the range. Except when its cold out and then I’m hitting balls into the net,” Tyrrell said. “Early in the year I was making a lot pf putts which accounted for the under-par scores. Later in the year I wasn’t making as many putts and the scores went up a little.”

But not by much.

For the season, Tyrrell finished with a nine-hole scoring average of 36.1 and an 18-hole mark of 72.4. Tyrrell, whose low round of the season was a 64 at the St. Victor Classic, had five rounds of under 70. But showing the consistency of a champion, Tyrrell didn’t have a single (nine-hole) round of 40 or above and no 18-hole score of over 80.

He then put the finishing touch on his brilliant junior season with rounds of 73 and 76 at the Class 3A State Golf Tournament which was played at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington. His 149 36-hole score was seven strokes behind state champion Brendan O’Reilly of Hinsdale Central, but good enough to finish in a tie for seventh place.

That medal-winning effort following an amazing regular season has earned Tyrrell the honor as the Belleville News-Democrat Co-Player of the Year. Tyrrell shares the honor with Mascoutah senior Alex Gorman and Althoff junior Dylan Davidson.

Tyrrell was just one of several outstanding players on an Edwardsville team which would go on to place sixth in the Class 3A state finals. The Tigers made coach Adam Tyler’s first at Edwardsville a good one.

Tyler took over for longtime coach Dene Schickedanz who resigned following the 2015 season. But like Hemings was for Schickedanz, Tyrrell was the one player Tyler could depend on to go low each time out.

“He is a coach in his first year loves to have in the program and one a coach going into his third year will hate to lose,” Tyler said. “The scores he put up this year —66, 67, 64, 69 — those are scores that people who have been around the Edwardsville golf program for a long time can’t recall seeing for several years and he is doing it as a junior. Ben just had a phenomenal year.”

Long and accurate off the tee, Tyrrell possesses a soft touch around the greens.

“I’m pretty long off the tee and I’m good with the short game. I can usually get up and down for par off the green,” Tyrrell said. “I just want to keep improving. In this sport you can always do things to make yourself a better.

“Are there things I still need to work on? Yes, there are things I can do in order to make myself a better player.”

But what makes Tyrrell a top high school player? Hard work and character.

“It’s the type of of person and the type of character that Ben has which sets him apart,” Tyler said. “By the time our season ends in October, Ben’s is just starting. He”s traveling all over and competing against the best players in the nation.

“He is the type of kid who expects to win every time he steps on the golf course. He expected to win the state tournament this year and he’ll expect to win it next year.”

Belleville News-Democrat Boys All-Area Golf Team Players of the Year

Alex Gorman, Mascoutah, sr.; Dylan Davidson, jr., Althoff, Ben Tyrrell, Edwardsville, jr

Coaches of the Year

Adam Tyler, Edwardsville and Pat Moore, Marquette

Class 3A First Team

Luke Babington, Edwardsville, sr.

Logan Harris, O’Fallon, sr.

Sam Bernosky, Belleville West, sr.

Andrew O’Bryan, Belleville East, sr.

Austin Galloway, Belleville East, sr.

Mason Groshans, Collinsville, sr.

Spencer Patterson, Edwardsville, sr.

Tanner White, Edwardsville, jr.

Class 2A First Team

Michael Holtz, Marquette, sr.

Drew Sobol, Wood River, sr.

Kolten Bauer, Marquette, soph.

Grant Goebel, Mater Dei, frosh.

Tyler Goebel, Mater Dei, sr.

Nick Messinger, Marquette, sr.

Ryan Stites, Waterloo, sr.

Andrew Wittenauer, Waterloo, sr.

Class 1A First Team

Zach Heet, Gibault, soph.

Alex Dietz, Gibault, sr.

Logan Thoms, Okawville, sr.

Nathan Parkinson, Marissa, sr.

Collin Doiron, Red Bud, jr.

Kelton Harre, Nashville, soph.

Parker Durgin, Wesclin, soph.

Second Team

(One combined list)

Nolan Antonioni, Columbia; Chase Bauer, Red Bud; Ben Brauns, Highland; Ryan Boyd, Alton; Riley Brown, Granite City; Jack Bruening, Althoff; John Cygnarowicsz, Columbia; Briley Dahncke, Nashville; Hunter Davis, Belleville East; Theo Dudek, New Athens; Brandon Durgin, Wesclin; Shane Ganz, Okawville; Hayden Heggemeier, Nashville; Michael Jenkins, Belleville West; Chris Lambert, Triad; Logan Lowery, O’Fallon; Jacob Maschhoff, Nashville; Duncan McLain, Marquette; Matt Minnisi, O’Fallon; John Misiewicz, Collinsville; Brandon Munie, Highland; Jack Patterson, Marquette; Jon Ratterman, Edwardsville;;Will Spencer, Civic Memorial; Kyle Steve, Columbia; Alex Suhre, Red Bud; Cameron Toenjes, Gibault;

Honorable Mention

Blake Burris, Edwardsville; .Michael Fields. Metro East Lutheran; Chance Gaebe, Okawville; Jake Jump, Metro East Lutheran; Bryce Kapp, Carlyle; Dalton Lahue, Alton, Taylor Patterson, O'Fallon, Phillip Reinhardt, Valmeyer; Carson Sensel, Valmeyer; Tre Wahling, Waterloo; Tyler Williamson, Nashville