ALTON – Every year, the Alton Girls Golf Invitational Tournament gives out flags to the top nine individuals.
“I really like the flags,” Edwardsville senior Kayla Weinacht said.
Weinacht was thrilled that she got to leave the Woodlands Golf Course on Saturday with another flag. She placed fifth with an 18-hole score of 80.
“There are always a few holes that you think you’re going to do better on,” said Weinacht, who earned a flag in last year’s tournament. “Other than that, I think I did pretty good for the first 18-hole tournament since last summer.”
Weinacht’s performance didn’t help the Tigers pull off another team championship at Alton. Edwardsville placed second with a 346 in the nine-team tournament. O’Fallon won the title with a 310.
Last year, Edwardsville won the Alton tournament by 10 strokes over O’Fallon.
“We all knew that O’Fallon was good,” Weinacht said. “We all knew that they were going to be pretty hard to beat. It would have been fun to beat them, but we’re glad to take second to a team that’s really good.”
O’Fallon and Edwardsville earned trophies for their performances. Collinsville also received a trophy after placing third with a 394.
The Alton Redbirds came up two places short of getting a trophy as they finished fifth with a 397. They were seventh in last year’s tournament.
“Overall, we improved since this time last year,” Alton coach Carey Cappel said. “Even though we (finished fifth), the girls aren’t satisfied, which is what I like. They’re hungry for more. They want to get better. I think it’s going to light a bit of a fire and it’s going to make them work harder for the season.”
Morgan Bemis led the Redbirds with a 94. Annie Maynard fired a 97 and Paige Wittman, Jenna Fleming and Addison Gregory each finished with a 103 for Alton.
“I think we did pretty well today,” said Maynard, who is the only senior in the varsity lineup. “We could have done better. We were all not completely satisfied with our scores, but I think we’re ready for next week. We have a couple of more tournaments and matches next week that we are ready to go ahead on and play.”
The Granite City Warriors placed ninth with a 500.
Junior Megan Keel came up one place short of getting a flag, placing 10th with a 90.
“She’s something else,” Granite City senior Emma Sturdivant said. “Nothing can stop her. She’s really good.”
Sturdivant finished with a 127 and Caroline Reynolds shot a 139 for Granite City, which was missing two of its top players – seniors Ashley Richey and Phoenyx Derner -- due to injuries.
Belleville East finished fourth with a 396, Columbia was sixth with a 435, Triad placed seventh with a 444 and Belleville West finished eighth with a 468.
Saturday’s tournament was played under wet conditions on the golf course from the rain on Friday.
“We knew it was going to be wet,” Weinacht said. “We knew it was going to be a little tougher to play in, but other than that, the day was really nice. It might have gotten a little humid during the middle of the tournament, but other than that, there were really nice conditions.”
“It was kind of hard to play because you have to keep moving the ball to get into the dry conditions,” Sturdivant said. “That’s the worst part of the day.”
Addy Zeller also earned a flag on Saturday for Edwardsville as she placed fourth with a 78.
Also for the Tigers, Sydney Sahuri finished with a 93, Jessica Benson shot a 95 and Meara Schaefer fired a 96.
Last year, Edwardsville won the Southwestern Conference and Class AA regional championships, but came up one place short of qualifying for the state tournament.
Weinacht said she has high hopes for her team for the rest of the season. So far, the Tigers are 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Southwestern Conference play and have a pair of second-place tournament finishes. Edwardsville placed second at the Marquette Catholic Blast-Off Classic two weeks ago.
“I think we’re going to do pretty good,” Weinacht said. “It’s a relatively different team from last year. We lost five seniors. If one of us does bad, the other one picks her up. Our chances are pretty good all around.”
The Tigers’ next match will be on Monday against Highland and Mater Dei at Highland.
Alton (2-8 overall, 0-1 in Southwestern Conference play) plays O’Fallon on Monday at Tamarack Golf Course.
Granite City (6-2 overall, 0-2 in SWC play) plays Collinsville on Monday at Arlington Golf Course.