CARBONDALE — Despite the rain and a little bit of bad luck, the Carbondale boys golf team carded a 311 to win its own Class 2A regional Tuesday afternoon at Hickory Ridge Golf Course.
The Terriers edged second place Benton (315) and third place Massac County (316). All three teams will advance to the sectional.
“This means a whole lot to me, and I can’t even explain what it means to me in words,” said Carbondale coach Jared Cook. “It is still sinking in right now. We’ve known they were capable of this for a while. I have five seniors in this group, and they’ve worked hard at it for four years now.”
Zach Pereira, who shot a 79, had to take two penalty strokes on each of the first two holes because someone mistakenly put an extra pitching wedge in his golf bag.
But Pereira overcame that bad luck and a 44 on the front nine. He carded a 35 on the back nine.
“That really could have cost us,” Cook said. “I think we were all a little nervous that maybe it did cost us. Starting out behind the eight ball like that kind of scared us all. But luckily his teammates were able to keep it together, and we were able to bring in four scores that got the job done.”
Jacob Sanders carded a 2-over par 74, which was the top score for the regional champions.
“The approach shots that I hit today were all pretty close to the pin,” Sanders said. “It made it easy to putt for par. I made a couple lucky birdies in there. Honestly, coming in, we were a little scared of Benton. But we knew we could capitalize, and most of our scores were good.”
Drew Hudgins and Marcos Lightfoot rounded out the top four scores for Carbondale. Both young men shot a 79.
Benton was led by Eldon Owens with a 75 and Brendan Luster with a 76.
“We knew that Carbondale would be tough here,” said Benton coach Reggie Norman. “We had a few guys that if you asked them, they’d tell you they didn’t play very well. But postseason is about advancing. You’d like to win, but three teams get to advance, and I’m glad we were one of them.”
Robbie Moore (81) and Brad Hammond (83) delivered Benton’s other two qualifying scores.
“We had a number that we wanted to shoot,” Norman said. “If we would have gotten that number we would have won the regional. Owens has been playing well for three weeks. He plays as our No. 5, but he is not a No. 5. Luster has been playing well all year long. He’s a solid player who keeps getting better.”
Massac County’s Brock Willmes led the Patriots with a 73, and Dakota Ball carded a 76. Blake Goins shot an 80, and Kyle Adkins delivered an 87.
Mount Vernon’s Zach Williams enjoyed a big day and took medalist honors. Williams shot an impressive 2-under par 70.
Williams advances to the sectional along with his teammate, Andrew Ashby, who shot an 83.
Marion’s Isaac Hammet (82) and Dennis Johnson (83) will also advance to the sectional. Herrin had three players move on. Logan Craft (77), Drew Ringel (78), and Logan Baggett (82) earned spots in the sectional.
West Frankfort’s Bryson Dorris (82) and C.J. Johnson (84) advanced to the sectional. Lucas Wolfe (85) won a playoff hole to advance as well.
CENTRALIA REGIONAL: The host Orphans earned a spot in the Salem Sectional with a second place finish.
Belleville Althoff won the regional title at 317. Centralia was second at 335 and Breese Mater Dei third at 336.
Caleb Urshan led the Orphans with a 79, followed by Chaisse Reed 81, Will Clossen 87 and Matt Garnier 88.
The Salem Sectional will feature those advancing from both the Carbondale and Centralia regionals. It takes place Oct. 9 at Salem Country Club.