Photo by Bill Roseberry
The Marquette Catholic Explorer boys’ golf team poses with their regional plaque after winning the Class 2A Roxana Regional on Tuesday at Belk Park. The Explorers and other local boys’ teams are preparing for sectional action.
It’s been a wildly successful season for boys’ golf in the River Bend.
On Tuesday the Marquette Catholic Explorers, Civic Memorial Eagles and East Alton-Wood River Oilers showed why they are some of the best on the local golf scene.
The Explorers won the Class 2A Roxana Regional at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River, carding a 324. The Eagles fired a 331 to nab third place at Belk Park and qualify as a team, while the Oilers advanced as the third team in the Class 1A Metro East Lutheran Regional at Collinsville’s Arlington Greens Golf Course, shooting a 341.
Now the three programs will try to bottle that success and repeat it at the sectional level.
Marquette and CM are together at the Waterloo Sectional on Monday, competing at Acorns Golf Links in Waterloo. EA-WR heads to the Wesclin Sectional to be played at Governor’s Run Golf Course in Carlyle, also on Monday.
Pat Moore, the third-year head coach for the Explorers, isn’t really sure what to expect at the Acorns. It’s a narrow course that doesn’t give too much room for error. It will provide a challenge as Marquette attempts to advance to state for the second time in Moore’s three years at the helm. The Explorers went to state in 2012.
“It’s more narrow, and from what my guys have told me, it’s going to be a course that’s really going to separate the good teams and the good players from the average and mediocre,” Moore said. “That’s kind of what a sectional is about anyway. It’s really separating those teams and really honing in on the good teams and how they can play.”
CM head coach Steve Carey said he thinks his team can succeed at the sectional. Senior J. Ryan Waters and junior Alec Hilliard competed in a regional there two years ago, which will offer a bit of wisdom to pass along to their teammates.
“Yes, that will help, but we’re going to play it (Wednesday) in a practice round and we’ll go back on Sunday,” Carey said Tuesday. “We’ll stay all night there (Sunday). Even though the travel is just a little over an hour, they’re going to stay there overnight and be ready to go Monday morning. We’re going to do all the little things we’ve got to do to try and prepare us to play well on Monday, and I hope we do.”
It’s the first time the Eagles have advanced from a regional in school history. Waters is determined to do well at Acorns and feels he’ll be ready.
“I played there for the regionals my sophomore year there and I actually played really well,” he said. “It’s kind of a long drive course. I think you can get away with having some bad shots here or there, so I think we’ll do well.”
Waters carded a 77 there as a sophomore and qualified for state.
EA-WR will go to Governor’s Run, a course that will provide plenty of challenges for the Oilers. It houses 14 water holes and large, elevated and undulating greens, which all are guarded by sand bunkers. The front nine is fairly open, allowing for some wider shots, but the back nine is much narrower, making accuracy more crucial.
On top of the three advancing teams, Roxana and Alton are still alive with two individual golfers per squad. Zack Moore and Zach Carlisle of the Shells also will be competing at the Acorns, while the Redbirds send Alex Rubin and Sam Ballard on a long trip to the Class 3A Homewood Flossmoor Sectional at Balmoral in Crete.
The Class 3A state tournament will be played at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington on Oct. 17 and 18. The Class 2A state tourney is at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Bloomington on Oct. 17 and 18, while the Class 1A state tournament is set at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington on Oct. 17 and 18.