CARBONDALE — All the conditions seemed right for Carbondale to win the South Seven boys golf tournament, until the conditions turned against them.
Unable to tap into their home-course advantage Thursday at Hickory Ridge Public Golf Center, the Terriers finished a distant second to Belleville Althoff, 16 shots off the Crusaders’ score of 316.
Carbondale had a chance to at least have the medalist, but Ian Davis’ 73 on a cool, breezy afternoon was matched by Sam Beggs of Centralia. Beggs wasted little time winning the sudden-death playoff on the first hole.
“We haven’t won a South Seven title in a while, and we were looking forward to this day,” Terriers coach Jared Cook said. “But it just wasn’t our day from the outset. It was cool and the wind had that state tournament feel to it.
“Our guys had to put on an extra layer or two of clothing we haven’t had to all year. I think most of our guys would tell you that they shot scores today that were higher than they were expecting.”
There was another factor in play. More specifically, Althoff’s fortified roster. When Carbondale knocked off the Crusaders last month at Marion’s invitational tournament, Althoff didn’t have a couple of its regulars at the tough Kokopelli track because they were quarantining.
This time, a full Crusader lineup delivered three rounds in the 70s, led by Max Breuning and Parker Breuning with 76 and 78, respectively. Avery Irwin tacked on a 79. Althoff didn’t have to count anything higher than an 83.
By contrast, the Terriers had to fill out their scorecard with an 89 and 90, more than negating the rounds of Davis and Owen Thoms (80). On a day where par acted more like birdie, Carbondale simply finished too many holes with bogey or worse.
“Today was just one of those days for us,” Cook said. “I hope it will become a learning experience. We really haven’t played in these conditions this year. I think we actually match up pretty well with Althoff, but we didn’t show it today.”
Centralia’s Brock Milburn (81), Althoff’s George Orlet (83), Mount Vernon’s Blaze Greathouse (84) and Marion’s Hayden Burns (88) rounded out the top 10. All top 10 finishers automatically earned all-conference honors.
Centralia placed third in the team standings, two strokes behind the Terriers. Marion (361) settled for fourth and Mount Vernon (383) was fifth.
All the South Seven teams, except for Althoff, now prepare for Tuesday’s Class 2A Mount Vernon Regional. Defending 2A regional and sectional champ Benton heads the field, but Cook thinks Carbondale has a good chance to fare well at Green Hills, where it has played already this year.
“We’re going up there on Sunday for a practice round,” he said. “I think it just comes down to executing shots for us. If we get practiced up right and play like we can Tuesday, we’ll have a chance at the end of the day.”
The top two teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team will advance to the Centralia Sectional on October 13.
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