WOOD RIVER – Zack Moore of the Roxana Shells did what he came to do Monday afternoon at the Belk Park Course in Wood River.
So did the Marquette Catholic Explorers.
Moore, a senior, shot a 2-under-par 70 for his second consecutive individual championship in the Hickory Stick Boys' Invitational. The Explorers carded a 322 score for their first team title in the fourth annual tourney. Civic Memorial recorded a 325 for second place and host East Alton-Wood River took third with a 341 in the 10-team event.
A pair of 35 rounds put Moore on the way to his victory. He won it with a 74 last fall, but this time he registered seven birdies, six pars and five bogeys.
“I had all of my irons working and I was making some putts,” Moore said of playing on his home course. Naturally, he has a comfort zone at Belk.
Moore quipped: “I’ve played this course so much that I can play it with my eyes closed. It’s my favorite course.”
Roxana coach Jeff Pare added, “Zack is a power player and he is very good at course management. He’s a very mature player and an ultra-consistent one.”
He won by seven strokes. CM’s J. Ryan Waters and Marquette’s Nick Messinger both fired rounds of 77 to share second place. Will Murphy of Mount Olive notched a 78, while EA-WR’s Drew Sobol and Marquette’s Michael Holtz both bagged scores of 79.
Messinger and Holtz are sophomores, so the Explorers’ future looks bright, according to Marquette coach Pat Moore. Max Goepel (82) and Andrew McCluskey (84) also figured in Monday’s scoring.
“We’ve finished second here before, so it’s great to win it,” Moore said. “We have a lot of high hopes and big expectations for this season. The best is yet to come for this team.”
Marquette went 17-5 last season after going 25-1 in 2012, Moore’s first season as head coach. The Explorers are poised to play in Tuesday’s Alton Redbirds’ Tee-Off Classic at the Spencer T. Olin Community Course. They’ll also go to the Madison County Tournament on Thursday on Gateway National in Madison.
The Explorers became the fourth team to emerge with the Hickory Stick title. Host EA-WR won it the inaugural season in 2011. Hillsboro prevailed in 2012 and Greenville snagged last year’s championship.
“I think the tournament went well,” Sobol said. “It’s a competitive tournament and that makes it good for different teams to win it.”
Hillsboro (343), Jersey (354), Roxana (358), West Central (361) and Vandalia (373) completed the team scoring. Mount Olive and First Baptists Academy of O’Fallon had partial teams participating.
Blake Davis, a senior, shot an 82, best for Jersey. The Panthers are also playing Tuesday in the Tee-Off Classic. So is EA-WR’s Drew Sobol.