WOOD RIVER — The Marquette Catholic Explorers flawless mark in dual play continued on Thursday at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River.
Marquette improved to 17-0 on the season after winning the quadrangular meet with East Alton-Wood River, Roxana and Litchfield. The Explorers carded a 146, while EA-WR was next with a 178, Litchfield shot 185 and Roxana turned in a 195.
Junior Michael Holtz of the Explorers went low on the afternoon with a 33. All four of Marquette's scoring players shot in the 30s.
“(Marquette) coach (Pat) Moore does a wonderful job and you want your players to see teams like that,” Oilers' head coach Dave Sobol said. “Emulate them, it's OK.”
Joining Holtz in the scoring lineup were: Nick Messinger (36), Jack Patterson (38) and Kolten Bauer (39). Even the non-scoring players, Duncan McLain (40) and Sam Cogan (41), were pretty low for the Explorers. Patterson, Bauer and Cogan are all freshmen.
Moore said his squad is firing on all cylinders and it's something that he's stoked to see with the postseason on the horizon.
“It's pretty neat,” Moore said. “It's nice to see a goose egg in the L column. They want to get to the 20 mark. They want to push themselves. They definitely want to keep that goose egg in the loss column and the momentum we are gaining right now with conference (tournament) next week and then regionals the week after, I think it's a perfect time to be shooting these scores.”
Holtz just uses continued consistency and accuracy to guide his game. His course management is impeccable and Moore said he's a good template for the rest of the Explorers.
“Practice pays off, determination and practice,” Moore said. “He is wanting to strive for greatness. He wants to shoot 9-under even nine holes he plays. He wants to birdie every hole. Tuesday (Rolling Hills) he eagled No. 1. He's not long, but he's accurate and he knows his strengths.
“They all feed off of each other, one through six. They just practice and they want to make sure they have everything honed in to shoot those big scores.”
While it was good for the Oilers and Shells to see Marquette's prowess on the links, Sobol and Roxana coach Jeff Pare said it's more about playing the course and it's all about improving for the postseason right now.
“You play against the course, you're not playing against people,” Sobol said. “This is just a nine hole match and everything we do prior to regionals is preseason. We want to be playing our best golf at the end of the season, which we did last year and made it to state. You want to peak at the right time.”
Pare added, “Our team is in a rebuilding mode. I've got one senior and the rest are pretty much sophomores and freshmen. I'm looking at hopefully getting my first two (Scott) Anderson and (Zach) Carlisle out and Rolling Hills (regional on Oct. 6) should be a friendly course for them and I think it's certainly feasible for them.”
On Thursday, EA-WR was paced by talented junior Drew Sobol's 37. Other scorers for the Oilers were: Brenden Allen (42), Hunter O'Brien (47) and Josh Clark (52).
The Shells were guided by Carlisle's 39. He was joined by Anderson (46), Brandon Kelly (53) and Justin Dearduff (57) in the scoring lineup.
The Explorers, Shells and Oilers will all meet on Oct. 6 at Rolling Hills in Godfrey in the Class AA Marquette Regional. EA-WR was bumped up to AA this season after reaching the Class A state tournament last season for the first time in school history.
“You can be 25-2 and get wiped out at regionals and it's whip cream on crud,” Dave Sobol said. “You want to be playing your best golf at the end of the year.”