As the weather turns cooler and the hourglass starts running down on the fall sports season, it’s golf that finds itself with the first taste of postseason play.
On Tuesday the five Greater Alton boys’ golf programs hit the playoff links. The girls found themselves in postseason play on Wednesday, following press time.
So focusing on the boys, we have to start with the Class 2A Marquette Regional, which took place at Rolling Hills Golf Club in Godfrey. And it was Marquette proving to be the king of the castle on their home course.
The Explorers fired a 308 to cruise to a 28-stroke victory for their second straight regional championship.
Junior Michael Holtz garnered medalist honors with a 71. He shot 37 on the front and 34 on the back, picking up a four-stroke victory over Greenville’s Gage Brauns (75).
It was the first time a Marquette golfer had topped the regional heap since 2011 when Danny Selby did it at Rolling Hills in a 1A Regional.
“We know the greens better than the back of our hands,” Holtz said of playing on their home course. “Honestly I’ve played out here since I was 10. I used to play 36 holes a day, so I know it probably better than anyone.”
Holtz is joined in the lineup by Nick Messinger, Duncan McLain and a trio of freshmen in Kolten Bauer, Jack Patterson and Sam Cogan. It’s a lineup that completed a flawless 17-0 dual record before delving into regional play.
Now the Explorers will take a shot at getting back to state for the first time in 2A and the first time since 2012 when they advanced there in Class 1A.
First they have to battle through the tough lineup at the West Frankfort Sectional at Franklin Country Club in West Franklin on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Greater Alton will have more than just Marquette to cheer for in West Franklin. Civic Memorial, East Alton-Wood River and Roxana will all be represented at the sectional.
CM narrowly missed advancing to sectionals as a team for the second consecutive season. The Eagles shot 344, three shots short of making the cut.
Senior Alec Hilliard and sophomore Parker Calvin represent CM individually. Hilliard fired a 78 in Godfrey, while Calvin shot 85 to get out.
EA-WR got two linksters through the regional. Juniors Drew Sobol (77) and Brendon Allen (89) advanced. Allen was all smiles after being the last golfer to make the cut.
Sobol and Allen aren’t strangers to success on the links. Last season the Oilers advanced to state for the first time, finishing 11th at the Class 1A state finals. This season EA-WR was bumped up to 2A and will have to look for success from its remaining individuals.
Roxana got senior Zach Carlisle (84) through. Carlisle advanced to sectionals as an individual last season, too. He’s hoping to take it a step further and catapult himself to state in his final prep season.
The top three teams from the sectional move on to the 2A state finals at Weibring Golf Club in Normal — Illinois State’s home course.
On the team front, Marquette will be joined by Greenville and Highland from Rolling Hills, Mattoon, Effingham and Lawrenceville from the Effingham Regional, Centralia, Salem and Massac County out of the Salem Regional and Columbia, Althoff and Mascoutah from the Waterloo Regional.
The Alton Redbirds competed in the Class 3A Edwardsville Regional on Tuesday at Oak Brook Golf Course. Unfortunately for the Birds no one advanced, thus ending their season.
Max Hunter (86) missed the cut by two strokes, while fellow AHS player Sam Ballard (87) was three strokes shy.
Edwardsville (289), Quincy (307) and O’Fallon (316) qualified for the Alton Sectional, scheduled for Spencer T. Olin Golf Course on Monday.
As for the girls, you can check out our website to find out what their fates were. Good luck to them, too.
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