High School Sports

College-like atmosphere awaits elite field at Far Oaks Golf Club

O’Fallon senior Emily Marrs, the 2016 BND Golfer of the Year, will be among an elite field of high school golfers to compete at the Midwest Shootout Girls Golf Classic at Far Oaks Tuesday. O’Fallon has won 15 straight regular season events.
O’Fallon senior Emily Marrs, the 2016 BND Golfer of the Year, will be among an elite field of high school golfers to compete at the Midwest Shootout Girls Golf Classic at Far Oaks Tuesday. O’Fallon has won 15 straight regular season events. dholtmann@bnd.com

O’Fallon coach Chris Eddy thought years ago about a single golf tournament that would bring together the best golfers from central and southern Illinois and those from west side of the Mississippi.

The Midwest Shootout Girls Golf Classic will finally happen Tuesday at Far Oaks Golf Club in Caseyville.

Perennial Missouri power and defending Class AA state champion St. Joseph Academy, along with defending Class A state champion Notre Dame headline the field, which will include Illinois Class AA programs O’Fallon, Normal Community, Galesburg, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin and Edwardsville.

Former Illinois 2A state champions Nashville, Althoff and Massac County are also in the field, too, as are Highland and Alton.

Play begins at 1 p.m. O’Fallon, which won its 15th straight regular season event Saturday by taking the Belleville East Tournament, is the top Illinois team.

This is no mid-August tune-up — Eddy says the atmosphere will more closely resemble a state tournament.

“This will be the best competition any these teams and players will see before their state tournaments,” Eddy said. “We actually started thinking about starting this tournament a couple of years ago with five or six teams then we thought about adding some of the top teams in the central part of the state as well.

“The coaches from Missouri were all for it so we’ve got 13 teams coming in for the first year. We’re playing a great golf course at Far Oaks, which will be playing right about 6,000 yards. That’s about the length that they play an average Division I college tournament at.”

More than two years in the making, the Midwest Shootout will feature many of the top high school players in St. Louis along with the top five Class AA girls golf programs south of Illinois I-80. They’ll play for both individual and team honors.

Eddy said the idea for the 18-hole event came up two years ago. Somewhat similar to the River Challenge, an event featuring the top teams in the St. Louis area in both Illinois and Missouri and held before the postseason each year, the Midwest Shootout will include more high-caliber teams and players.

“We can play as well as we have all year and still fifth or sixth on Tuesday. The teams are that good,” Eddy said. “This competition is the kind you want your team to have going into the postseason. This will give us an early indication of where we need to be by the postseason in late September and early October.”

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