High School Sports

Althoff boys, O’Fallon girls win titles at Goalby-Haas Invitational

Althoff High School sophomore Dylan Davidson probably knows very little of the accomplishments of Belleville native and 1968 Masters champion Bob Goalby.

But Thursday at the Goalby-Haas Invitational at St. Clair Country Club, Davidson, the Crusaders’ No. 3 player, had a round that even Goalby would be proud of.

Taking advantage of near ideal conditions, Davidson had three birdies in an error-free round of 3-under-par 33 to lead the way as Althoff captured its third title in four tries with a 12-stroke victory over O’Fallon .

“I got off to a good start and just kept it going. I hit it very well all day and when the opportunities were there, I was able to make a few putts for birdies,’’ Davidson said. “I had a pretty good summer of playing golf tournaments and it has just carried over.

“I played very well today,’’

Senior co-captains Matthew McCarthy and Connor Eghigian added 1-over rounds of 37 and senior Carson Von Alst added a 40 for the Crusaders, who won the early season event for the second straight year and third time in four seasons.

Belleville West won the first Goalby-Haas title in 2011 and Althoff won it in 2012. There was no event in 2013 while St. Clair Country Club underwent renovations.

Also earning a second title at the Haas-Goalby Invitational was the O’Fallon High School girls team, which finished with a score of 183, three strokes better than defending Class A state champion Althoff.

Crusaders senior Gabby David won the individual championship with a 3-over 39.

With the 85-year-old Goalby, who said he still plays four times a week, on hand to present the awards, Althoff broke its own tournament record of 149 shot in 2012, by two strokes.

And while McCarthy, an all-state player a year ago, Eghigian and Von Alst, all posted good scores, the day belonged to Davidson.

“Am I surprised Dylan shot a 33 today? No, because I know what he’s capable of shooting,” said Althoff coach Dan Polites . “He went out and just played a great round of golf on a very challenging St. Clair Country Club course. He was playing well at Alton (on Tuesday) before the rain hit and the event was cancelled and he was able to carry it over to today.’’

“I’m very proud of what Dylan did today and also Matthew (McCarthy) and Connor Eghigian both played very well. Carson (Von Alst) then gave us a good round with his 40. The team knows what this tournament means to me. I grew up here (St. Clair Country Club) and winning here is also one of our goals every year.’’

O’Fallon, getting a round of 35 from Logan Harris and 39 from Elliott Waslkington, also played well, finishing with a score of 159. Harris tied Columbia junior Andrew Wittenauer for second in the individual competiton with rounds of 35.

Columbia placed third in the six-team event with a score of 162. Belleville East, getting a round of 37 from junior Austin Galloway, rounded out the top four with a total of 165.

While Althoff is expected to be one of the best Class 2A boys teams in the state, O’Fallon’s upset of the defending Class A girls state champion Althoff Crusaders was a major surprise.

Led by a top young coach in former Belleville East and Illinois State University player Chris Eddy, the Panthers overcame a case of youthful nerves to finish with a team score of 183. Althoff, led by David, had a 186.

The title is even more impressive in that four of the Panthers top six players are sophomores and none of his top six have played golf for more than two years.

“I’m very proud of these girls. Considering the fact that three of these girls have played golf for about a year, to come out and play as well as we did today is a testament as to how far we’ve come and how hard the girls have worked to get us here,” Eddy said. “We’ve having fun and when you consider that we’re going to have four of these girls for three years, the future looks very bright.’’

Sophomore Brooke Boatman shot a 40 to lead the way for O’Fallon. Emily Maars (41), Natalie Fix (50) and Alyssa McMinn (52) rounded out the Panthers lineup.

Althoff, which graduated standouts Abigail Irwin and Madison Weilbacher from last year’s team, continued to get superb play from David, who called her round consistent.

“It was just steady. I didn’t make any major mistakes. I just tried to make a lot of pars and that’s exactly what I did,’’ David said. “I played a lot over the summer. We played together as a team twice a week and then I played in several Gateway (PGA) events. I’m looking forward to a good year.’’

Alaina Irwin added a 44 for Althoff. Sophomore Tiam Kimbrough shot a 50.

East, getting rounds of 48 from Daphne Lane and 49 from Colette Thro and Ele Munie, placed third at 198.

Contact reporter Dean Criddle at dcriddle@bnd.com or 618-239-2661.

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