BLOOMINGTON — Andrew Turner’s six-athlete Monticello boys’ golf lineup concluded Friday’s opening round of the Class 1A state tournament with a cumulative 323 score.
That put the Sages in an anguishing position.
They’d have to wait to learn if that mark was good enough for Day 2 qualification. Monticello entered the clubhouse in ninth place of 12 teams. The top eight would advance to play another 18 holes on Saturday.
“We knew we had a shot, but you’re obviously worried,” Turner said. “We basically just watched Beecher and Sherrard play their last few holes. We were all locked in watching until the very end.”
The very end brought about some fantastic news for the Sages.
Beecher played itself out of the top eight with some late miscues, allowing Monticello to sneak in by a razor-thin margin. The Sages’ total tied with Sherrard for seventh, while both Beecher and Rockridge finished on the outside looking in at 324.
“We are super excited,” said Turner, whose program is seeking its first piece of team-based state hardware in its fifth appearance. “It was stressful, but exciting, too.”
Junior Will Ross fired a 2-over 74 and senior Tanner Buehnerkemper notched a 3-over 75 for Monticello, giving them a share of seventh and 10th positions, respectively, on the individual leaderboard.
“There’s nothing really that means more than that. You always want your upperclassmen to finish strong,” Turner said. “They were pretty sure they were going to advance as individuals anyway, but I think it’s even sweeter for them to come and do this as a team.”
Monticello freshman Maddux Quick turned in his best-ever 18-hole round when it counted most, tying for 33rd overall with a 79. Monticello’s top four was rounded out by a 95 from freshman Andrew Neef.
Joining Turner’s crew in Saturday’s final round of state are Prairie Central junior Carson Friedman and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley senior Connor Engel. Each finished at 79 in the first day, good enough to move on individually.
St. Thomas More sophomore Wilson Kirby (87) and Tri-County senior Holden Kile (90) did not advance.
Schacht does enough. Champaign Central junior Wade Schacht didn’t produce his best score in Friday’s opening round of the Class 2A boys’ golf state tournament.
But his performance didn’t end his season, either.
Schacht carded a 6-over 77 at Normal’s Weibring Golf Club to earn individual advancement to Saturday’s final round of the tournament.
“It was definitely a rough round. Definitely not what I was hoping for,” the reigning News-Gazette All-Area Player of the Year said. “I’ve been playing the best golf of my life, so (Friday) was a real shock.”
Schacht will need to climb inside the individual top 15 by the end of play to receive a state medal, which would be the Maroons’ fifth this century. He was tied for 45th place after Friday’s round.
“It’s just about forgetting what happened,” Schacht said. “I did make the cut, so it’s great I get to go back out (Saturday) and get a little redemption.”
Winters, Erhard keep rolling. The area’s only two girls’ golf state qualifiers each will get to play one more round in the Class 1A tournament.
Mahomet-Seymour junior Ainsley Winters scored 76 and St. Thomas More senior Brooke Erhard carded 78 at Decatur’s Red Tail Run Golf Course on Friday, propelling each to Saturday’s last 18 holes.
Winters wound up tied for 12th place overall and Erhard tied for 19th. Winters is attempting to become the Bulldogs’ first-ever girls’ golf state medalist — a top-15 finish would accomplish this — while Erhard seeks to become the seventh state medalist in program history.
“I was able to stay focused, and keep a cool head,” Winters said. “I am excited that I was not eliminated (Friday), and that I am able to keep my season going for one more day.”