ALTON – Tori Hays regularly sharpens her golfing skills by playing her favorite sport at the Spencer T. Olin Community Course.
Evidently, practice makes perfect for the Alton High Senior, the AdVantage News Girls Prep Golfer of the Year in 2013.
She shot a 1-under-par Saturday to share medalist honors with Sarah Lyman of Normal University High in the rain-shortened Marquette Catholic Blast-Off Tourney at Olin on Saturday. Madison Hill of Pekin came in third with a par round.
“Rolling Hills is our home course, but I practice here as much as I can,” Hays said of Olin. “And today was the best that I’ve shot here in a tournament.”
The Redbirds took third in the multi-team tournament for the second successive season. They had a plus 25-par score for nine holes. Pekin was runner-up with a plus 23-par score and Normal won it with a plus 20-par effort. Par scores varied, depending upon the nine holes played.
“The players played different nine holes. So what we did was to take the first nine holes relative to par of those holes,” said Dan Morelli, Olin’s director of golf. “It was the most equitable way to do it.”
The tournament started at 1 p.m. By 4:40, thunder boomed and rain rolled in, causing tourney officials to halt things. The 18-hole tourney thus reverted to a nine-hole event, since all golfers played at least nine holes.
“Some players still had seven or eight holes to play,” Marquette coach Deb Walsh said. The overcast conditions and dimming daylight forced play to stop for good.
Walsh added, “We really didn’t have an option.”
Edwardsville coach Tresa LaBoube said, “We wanted to finish playing, but that’s all you can do.”
CM coach Jane Middleton said, “I don’t know if this is the fairest way to do it, but before the tournament started, we talked about it and knew this could happen.”
Alton coach Carey Cappel noted, “It’s better than throwing out all of the scores and not counting anything.”
Natalie Long of the Redbirds shared fifth place with a 4-over-par score. Sara Gwillim of CM had a 7-over-par and tied for seventh with Megan Quick of Edwardsville.
“We’re happy with third place and overall, with what we did,” Cappel said. “Tori played well here and it’s a long course. But one of her strengths is driving. I know she’s excited about the way she played.”
Hays, who played holes 1-9, said: “I started out well with three birdies on the first four holes. I was putting pretty well.”
She expects more progress and looks for the Redbirds to keep improving. “I’m looking for big things from our team this year. It should be fun,” Hays said.
Other teams and scores were: Edwardsville, plus 32; Lincoln, plus 36; Effingham, plus 41; O’Fallon, plus 42; CM, plus 43; Effingham St. Anthony, plus 43; Carrollton, plus 55; Marquette, plus 72; Auburn, plus 72 and Camp Point Central, plus 78. Nearly 80 golfers participated in the competition.
Follow @StevePorter51 on Twitter.