Photo by Bill Roseberry
EA-WR senior Drew Sobol gets positioned before a putt on No. 16 at Belk Park Golf Course on Sept. 22. Sobol is poised for a big playoff run in his final season as his dad and coach Dave Sobol also wraps up his coaching career.
East Alton-Wood River senior Drew Sobol is committed to the game of golf.
His love of the sport comes across in his play. He’s enjoyed a stellar career with the Oilers on the links and he’s poised to end it on a high note.
“Regional title, sectional title, state title,” he said, smiling, of his plans for the upcoming Class 2A postseason.
EA-WR is cast in the 2A Roxana Regional at Belk Park Golf Course in Wood River on Tuesday. After that it’s the Mattoon Sectional at Mattoon Golf and Country Club and state at Weibring Golf Course in Normal. Sobol is determined to make a deep run.
“We have regionals at (Belk Park), so I’m not too worried about that, but sectionals should be pretty interesting,” he said. “I’ve never qualified for state individually, but team-wise we did my sophomore year, so I’m hoping to meet that goal. It’s just take it one step at a time.”
His coach Dave Sobol just so happens to be his dad, so the successful prep career has been extra special for him. On Sept. 22 at Belk Park, Drew turned in a 34 to earn medalist honors for the 13th time in 15 events this season.
“It’s just a wonderful ride and we enjoy the heck out of it,” Dave said. “We do a lot of fist pumping.”
The solid senior campaign is rounding out a fantastic four-year career, one Dave put into perspective from his coaching tenure at EA-WR.
“Johnny Stimac had 15 medalists in his career; Drew got 33 on (Sept. 22),” Dave said.
Drew added, “I feel like I’m progressing a lot. I think my average right now is a 34.8 (for nine holes). I’ve progressed a lot since freshman year.”
His lone state experience came during his sophomore season. The Oilers advanced to the 1A state tournament at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington in 2014. Drew shot a two-day score of 174 to finish tied for 62nd individually. He carded a 91 on Day 1 and an 83 on the second day. As a team EA-WR finished in 11th place.
Drew’s work ethic has helped him evolve since then. Dave, also the EA-WR wrestling coach, retold a story of Drew’s commitment from last wrestling season as a great example. Drew is also a standout wrestler for the Oilers, finishing fourth at Class 1A state a year ago.
“Last December when we got flooded, the water was 8 1/2 feet over our road and my assistant Eric Huebner calls me up and says, ‘Coach, your son just called me and told me to come get him,’” Dave said. “I said, ‘We’re flooded in. I don’t know how we’re going to get out.’ Drew said, ‘Dad, I’m going to practice.’
“In 17-degree weather this kid takes the kayak, puts it in the back of the farm truck, drives to the bridge, gets in the kayak while Kim (his mom) and I are watching. She’s yelling and I’m saying shut up and Huebie’s on the other side. This kid kayaks a mile and a half to go to practice. That kid wants to win a state title. You don’t teach that stuff.”
The golf season is definitely trending in the right direction. Dave believes it’s all coming together at the right time for a big run.
“It’s all about peaking at the right time,” Dave said. “He’s got such a good short game, he can get up and down from the ball wash, but he’s not there yet. He’s hitting them within 15 feet and I’m waiting for in about a week to be within 5 or 6 feet where he’ll pop in a lot of birdies.
“Everything we do prior to regionals is preseason and now it’s go time. You can make a great season the best ever, a bad season good, or you can make a good season cruddy.”
Drew has plans for golf past high school. McKendree University in Lebanon is on his radar. That decision will be coming down the pipe after he wraps up the postseason.
“I’m looking at McKendree University right now,” Drew said. “Their coach called me (Sept. 22) and we talked for about half an hour about school and golf and how good of a fit I would be there. I’m hoping to go there.”
But there’s big goals in mind with the Oilers before the Bearcats come into the picture.
“He wants to win a state championship in two sports and he’s said that since freshman year,” Dave said.
That would be a fitting conclusion for Dave’s coaching career, too. He is leading EA-WR in his final golf season and final wrestling season. He’ll hang up his coaching duds when Drew graduates.
“It’s been a neat ride and we’re going to finish this out on a good note,” Dave said.
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