After back-to-back seasons dominating Class 3A high school golf in Southern Illinois, Edwardsville senior Ben Tyrrell says he is ready for the next chapter in both his academic and athletic career.
But Tyrrell will always be tied to a high school career that saw him average 72.2 in 18-hole events and claim a second-straight top-10 finish at the Class 3A state tournament in Bloomington by tying for third last month at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course. He previously tied for seventh place at the 2016 Class 3A state tournament.
“I’ve got mixed emotions about my high school career being over. I’m going to miss the team and all the trips we took up north,” Tyrrell said. “But I’m also looking forward to the next chapter of having more competition and more goals to reach. I’m excited to start the process of trying to win the NCAA championship.”
He’ll be headed to Illinois State University in Normal next fall.
Tyrrell is the 2017 Belleville News-Democrat Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
“It was a good year. I struggled a little bit in some tournaments. But overall, I had a very good season,” Tyrrell said. “The highlights were when I shot the school and (Meadowview) course record 62 at the Mattoon Invitational, and then the first day at the state tournament when I had the hole-in-one and was tied for the lead with a 69.”
Tyrrell’s summer tournament schedule was cut short by a boating accident that left him with lacerations on his arms and head along with an injury to his leg. The accident caused Tyrrell to miss a few weeks of tournament golf.
“It was tough because I wanted to play so bad,” Tyrrell said.
The accident also came at a time when Tyrrell was playing perhaps some of the best golf of his life.
“Ben had just finished third in the Illinois Junior Amateur Championship, which qualified him to get into some (AJGA) American Junior Golf Association tournaments. He was playing just so well,” Tigers coach Adam Tyler said. “I honestly thought that with the United States Amateur qualifier being at Spencer (T. Olin) in Alton and being a 36-hole event on a course that he knows and plays well, that he had a chance to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.
“It was just unfortunate that he wasn’t able to have the opportunity.”
When Tyrrell was able to play during the summer, he played well.
“I really became much more consistent and more accurate with my irons and with my driver. That was the biggest improvement that I made this summer,” Tyrrell said. “Last year, my putting was really good. This summer I putted well, but I just became so much more accurate.”
With Tyrrell leading the way, Edwardsville had another solid season in 2017. Champions of the Southwestern Conference tournament, the Tigers would go on to qualify for the Class 3A state finals, where they would eventually finish in ninth place. Their senior leader would do much better.
Starting on the back nine at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in his opening round, Tyrrell had four birdies and made the turn in 33. Three bogies brought him back to even, but on the par-3 13th hole, Tyrrell became the 13th player in history to make a hole in one in state competition. He would play his final five holes in one-under and finished tied for the lead at 69 with Josh Lundmark, of Hinsdale Central.
It didn’t last, as Tyrrell shot a 75 in the second round to finish at 144 for the tournament, three strokes behind state champion Jackson Bussell, of Lincolnshire Stevenson.
“I was confident and playing well going into the second day,” Tyrrell said. “I just didn’t make any putts the second day and hit a couple of poor shots.”
2017 Metro East Golf Coaches Association/Belleville News-Democrat Boys All-Area Golf Team
Player of the Year
▪ Ben Tyrrell, Edwardsville, sr.
Coaches of the Year
▪ Adam Tyler, Edwardsville
▪ Dan Polites, Althoff
Class 1A First Team
▪ Zach Heet, Gibault, sr.
▪ Lucas Herrmann, Gibault, jr.
▪ Logan Jones, Edwardsville, soph.
▪ Kelton Harre, Nashville, jr.
▪ Jacob Maschhoff, Nashville, jr.
▪ Carson Parker, Nashville, soph.
▪ Collin Doiron, Red Bud, sr.
▪ Thomas White, Red Bud, sr.
▪ Carson Sensel, Valmeyer, jr.
▪ Brendan Durgin, Wesclin, jr.
▪ Parker Durgin, Wesclin, jr.
Class 2A First Team
▪ Dylan Davidson, Althoff, sr.
▪ Kolton Bauer, Marquette, sr.
▪ Grant Goebel, Mater Dei, soph.
▪ Kyle Steve, Columbia, sr.
▪ Cam Lambert, Triad, sr.
▪ Jack Patterson, Marquette, sr.
▪ Jack Bruening, Althoff, soph.
▪ Avery Irwin, Althoff, frosh.
▪ Brandon Munie, Highland, sr.
Class 3A First Team
▪ Hunter Davis, Belleville East, sr.
▪ Daniel Frew, Belleville East, sr.
▪ Logan Lowery, O’Fallon, soph.
▪ Taylor Patterson, O’Fallon, jr.
▪ Jon Ratterman, Edwardsville, sr.
▪ Zach Trimpe, Edwardsville, jr.
▪ Drew Wielgus, Granite City, sr.
▪ Tanner White, Edwardsville, sr.
Second Team (combined list)
Ian Bailey, Edwardsville; D.J. Billhard, Father McGivney; Ben Brauns, Highland; Tommy Carr, Waterloo; Eddie Constance, Belleville West; Adrian Crossin, Valmeyer; Dillon Donjon, Belleville East; Chad Geralds, Okawville; Payton Harre, Okawville;; Alex Kueker, Red Bud; Dylan Lahue, Alton; Trevor Laub, Edwaardsville; Brandon Middendorf, Steeleville; Terry Pelczyinski, Nashville; Matt Rachell, Columbia; Jack Range, Gibault; Brandon Riggins, Marissa, Nathan Rivera, Mater Dei; Noah Scrum, Collinsville; Evan Sutton, Highland; Drew Taylor, O’Fallon; Cameron Toenjes, Gibault; Lucas Verdun, Edwardsville; Tre Wahlig, Waterloo; Nick Weilbacher, Gibault; Greg Witte, Collinsville