WOOD RIVER – Sara Gwillim came out swinging Tuesday in the girls’ portion of the Madison County Golf Tournament.
The Civic Memorial High junior shot an 8-over-par 80 for medalist honors in leading the Eagles to the small-school title. CM shot a 376 for its second successive MadCo championship. Edwardsville carded a 354 for large-school honors at Belk Park Golf Course.
Thanks to a pair of birdies and six pars, Gwillim put together the leading effort of the day. Kayla Weinacht of Edwardsville and Sidney Bost of Collinsville both shot scores of 84, tops for large-school players.
“It’s the best score I’ve ever shot,” said Gwillim, posting rounds of 42 and 38. “I’m happy with it. My best before today was an 84 at Annbriar (in Waterloo). I shot a 99 last year in the county tournament.”
So Gwillim improved 19 strokes since the start of last season. How did she do it?
“I’ve worked on my short game during the off-season,” she said. “The short game is what golf is all about. I was putting pretty well today and I hit a lot of greens.”
Eagles’ coach Jane Middleton said Gwillim’s improvement is fun to chart.
“Sara played in a lot of Gateway PGA events this summer and she scored well in them,” Middleton said. “She has physically matured and is hitting her irons better. Sara is very competitive and wants to be the best. I expect a lot of good things from her this season.”
CM outshot Marquette Catholic (418) and Roxana (463) for small-school honors. Edwardsville outdid Collinsville (418) and Granite City (424) in the large-school group. Triad didn’t field a full team. Highland and defending large-school champ Alton didn’t compete. The Redbirds had a scheduling conflict. Neither East Alton-Wood River nor Metro East Lutheran has a girls’ team.
“I’m excited about this season and the future looks bright,” CM’s Middleton said.
Allison Hemingway (85), Kayla Slavins (94) and Lisa Logterman (117) contributed to the Eagles’ winning outing.
Middleton added, “Allison has really improved since last season, too. I’m looking for her and Sara to play first or second for us all year.”
Carlee Cronin and Brittany Barta both shot scores of 88 to pace Marquette. Andrea Mellenthin registered a 97, best for Roxana.
Megan Quick (88), Kiley Reeder (90) and Sam Doak (92) complemented Weinacht in guiding Edwardsville.
“I’m highly pleased with what the girls did on the course,” Tigers’ coach Tresa LaBoube said. “They showed patience and were sticking with things the first time out. I was happy about that.”
City rivals Marquette and Alton are scheduled to clash at 3:30 today in a dual match at the Spencer T. Olin Community Course. The Explorers will play host to their high-powered Blast-Off Tournament on Saturday, Aug, 30, also at Olin.
The boys’ part of the county tournament unfolds Thursday at Gateway National Golf Links in Madison. It begins at 1 p.m.