ROBINSON – The Hamilton County boys golf team edged Teutopolis to claim a Class 1A sectional championship by the closest of margins at Quail Creek Country Club Monday.

The Foxes shot a 327, which was just enough to beat Teutopolis (328) and Hillsboro (329).

“I was elated, and we’d never won before,” said Hamilton County coach Terry Aud. “There were some very good teams up there and some very good scores. It just means that their hard work all summer long has paid off. They took lessons, and this is just really great.”

Austyn Downen, who is just a sophomore, shot a 75 to lead the way for Hamilton County.

“He is a very good player, and he’s just a natural out there,” Aud said. “He’s had his ups and downs because he’s a sophomore, but I know he’s going to improve. He can hit the ball a long way, and he’s good around the green, too.”

Nate Neal, the team’s only senior, carded a 76 as well.

“Nate has stepped up and is our leader,” Aud said. “If someone hasn’t had a very good round or isn’t playing as well as they should, he steps up and lets us know about it. He’s been a four-year starter for me and a very good player for me. We have needed his leadership.”

Kyle Van Abbema shot an 82, and Cameron Gray finished with a 94 for the Foxes as well.

Hamilton County will compete in the IHSA Class 1A state tournament at Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington on Friday and Saturday.

“I am extremely proud of this team,” Aud said. “This was a very tough sectional. There were probably six or seven teams that were very capable of winning this. I was afraid we’d go up there and shoot a very good score and not get out of it. That is a very tough course.”

Chester’s Baylee Modglin shot a 78 to advance to state as well.

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