EDWARDSVILLE – Courtney Hachmann gave the Alton girls’ golf team one of her best efforts of the season Tuesday at Oak Brook Golf Course in Edwardsville.
Yet the host Edwardsville Tigers withstood Hachmann’s 1-under-par 37 – good for medalist honors — and stopped the Redbirds’ winning ways in the Southwestern Conference.
Edwardsville fired a 160 score for a three-stroke victory over Alton (163) in a pivotal SWC match. Granite City finished third at 207. The Redbirds, now 11-1 overall and 4-1 in the league, suffered their first conference defeat since late in the 2012 season. The Tigers improved to 11-2 and 4-0. They have a pair of SWC dates remaining.
“I knew it would be tough for us tonight,” AHS coach Carey Cappel said Tuesday. “They (Tigers) played fantastically and they are hot right now. And I think they have a huge advantage playing at home because it’s such a strategic course here.
“But I couldn’t ask any more from my team.”
Natalie Long of Alton carded a 39 to complement Hachmann’s round, her second best ever at Oak Brook. Tori Hays (43) and Ashley Orr (44) completed the Redbirds’ scoring.
Sam Doak (38) led Edwardsville. Kayla Weinacht (39) was right behind her, followed by Paige Hamel (40), plus Eryn Coppersmith (43) and Jessica Binkley (43).
“It’s a great victory against a strong team,” Edwardsville coach Tresa LaBoube said. “That was our best team score of the season. So it was incredible. We knew it was going to be close and anything could happen.”
The Redbirds, the defending SWC champs, will get another shot at the Tigers in the league tournament Tuesday at Wood River’s Belk Park Golf Course. Alton still has a conference date remaining with Granite City. The head-to-head matches and the league tourney each count half in determining the SWC champion.
“It’d be great to get a share of the conference championship,” Cappel said.
Hachmann said the Redbirds are poised for a late-season surge. “We have a lot of goals, and we’re pumped to play and do well,” she said. “All the wins this season have boosted our confidence.”
She said her short game made a difference against Edwardsville. “My putting is what helped me today,” Hachmann said. “What I try to do is take it one shot at a time.”
Cappel added, “Courtney had a fantastic round and she has been playing great in the last couple of tournaments. Everything is coming together for her. Natalie also had a great round today.”
Megan Keel shot a 45, best for Granite City.
The Redbirds and Tigers will go their separate ways after next week’s competition. Alton is cast in the Springfield High Class 2A Regional at Lincoln Greens and Edwardsville goes to the Carbondale 2A Regional at Hickory Ridge. Both teams could clash again in the Champaign Centennial Sectional at the Savoy Course.