EDWARDSVILLE -- Morgan Bemis came into Wednesday’s Class AA Edwardsville Regional tournament at Oak Brook Golf Club with a pair of R2-D2 socks.
The socks definitely worked for the Alton junior as she qualified for the Sacred Heart-Griffin Sectional tournament on Tuesday at Illini Country Club in Springfield as an individual after firing a personal-best 18-hole score of 85 at regionals.
“She (Alton coach Carey Cappel) said, ‘These socks are going to bring me through the rest of the day,’ ” Bemis said.
Bemis will be the Redbirds’ lone representative at sectionals for the second straight year. She will compete in the sectional round for the third year in a row. When she was a freshman, she helped the Redbirds qualify for sectionals as a team.
“It feels natural because it’s like a part of my game almost,” Bemis said. “If I don’t make it, it’s like I’ll feel disappointed about myself.”
Granite City junior Megan Keel also will play in the sectional tournament for the third year in a row. She shot a 91 in Tuesday’s regionals.
Keel also became the first Granite City golfer in program history to qualify for sectionals for three straight years.
“I’m happy about just keeping the streak going,” Keel said. “It’s always fun and I did my best.”
The Edwardsville Tigers advanced to sectionals after placing second with a four-player score of 336. The Tigers will make their seventh straight sectional tournament appearance.
“It’s really exciting,” Edwardsville coach Paige Hamel said. “I’m glad that we’re advancing to sectionals. We all didn’t play our best round, but what can you do?”
O’Fallon won the regional championship with a 313. Collinsville also qualified for sectionals after placing third with a 362.
The Tigers will continue an outstanding season that included a 17-0 dual-match record and a share of the Southwestern Conference title with O’Fallon.
“We’re not doing too bad,” said Hamel, who shot three pars and two birdies and finished with an 87. “We have our good days and bad days like everyone else, but sometimes we pull it together and make it work.”
Edwardsville will look to qualify for state for the fourth time in six seasons.
“We have to shoot good scores and keep them low and just hope for the best,” Hamel said.
Edwardsville junior Addasyn Zeller earned a medal after placing third with a 77. She shot a 40 in the front nine and a 37 in the back.
“She’s amazing,” Hamel said. “She’s a great friend and a teammate. She’s really talented.”
Bemis and Keel are among the 10 individuals who are not part of a sectional-qualifying team, but their scores were good enough to qualify for the sectional round.
Alton finished sixth in the 10-team regional tournament with a 388. Granite City was 10th with a 466.
“It’s a bummer that my team can’t come with me, but we’ve got a lot of new golfers this year, so they’re only going to get better,” Keel said.
“I’m upset that we’re not advancing as a team to sectionals, but I know they’ll always push on and they’ll keep practicing because they just love the game of golf,” Bemis said.
Bemis finished with six pars and shot an eagle at the par-5, No. 9 hole.
“I’m very happy with how I played today,” Bemis said. “I feel like my putting could have been better on the back side, but I feel like I was solid on the front.”
Bemis will look to earn her second trip to the state tournament. She helped the Redbirds qualify for state in her freshman year.
“It will be wonderful,” Bemis said. “It will be nice to replay that image in my head. I’ve been waiting for that time to come back and I’m hoping this year will be it.”
Keel will look to become the first Granite City golfer to qualify for the state tournament.
“I just hope for the best,” the Granite City junior said. “It will be awesome and I know my school will support me.”
Keel shot a birdie at the No. 9 hole. She also finished with six pars.
Keel received some advice for her swing coach, Bob Tays, before the regional tournament.
“He told me to stay calm and have fun and make sure I’m still having fun with it and not let that go away,” Keel said. “I want to thank him a lot because he has helped me a lot with my swing and helped me stay calm and have fun with it and it really helped my game.”
Alton’s Paige Wittman came up two strokes of qualifying for sectionals as she shot a 98. She shot two pars.
Alton’s Annie Maynard and Phoenyx Derner and Emma Sturdivant of Granite City saw their high school golf careers come to an end in Tuesday’s regionals. Maynard shot a 102 with a par at the No. 11 hole, Derner finished with a 114 and Sturdivant had a 130. All of them are seniors.
Edwardsville senior Kayla Weinacht will continue her high school golf career for at least another week. She shot five pars and a birdie at the No. 7 hole and finished with an 82.