Postseason primer: Tournament success preps area golfers for pursuit of state tourney bids
QUINCY — The postseason is nigh, and it could be an eventful one on the links.
Here are five things to keep in mind as regional play for Illinois boys begins Wednesday and girls Thursday and district play for Missouri girls tees off next week:
Minor success, major results for Pirates
The growth of the Hannibal girls golf program has been evident every step of the way this fall and could culminate with the Pirates’ first district title, although toppling St. Dominic in the postseason will be a chore.
The Pirates won their first North Central Missouri Conference championship Monday, shooting a 355 at Fulton. It’s part of a trend of top finishes for Hannibal, which took second in the 18-team Troy Invitational after winning the Kirksville Invitational.
In between invitational success, the Pirates established a new school record for a nine-hole dual team score, shooting a 169 at Quincy’s Westview Golf Course. Senior golfer Siena Minor also broke the individual nine-hole scoring record, shooting a 32 at Palmyra’s Jackson Park Golf Course.
Minor, who transferred to Hannibal from Columbia Rock Bridge, was the tournament champion at both Troy and Kirksville, shooting a 73 at each event, and won the NCMC title with a 72. Grace Kirby, a senior, was a state qualifier last season and gives the Pirates’ lineup some depth, along with Kate Minor and Addie Wright.
The Class 3 District 2 tournament will be played at the Golf Club of Wentzville on Oct. 6.
WCC championship sets stage for Raiders
If Hannibal is blossoming into a district contender, then Quincy Notre Dame is emerging as a regional threat. Their success has mirrored each other.
The QND girls finished second at the Kirksville Invitational, two strokes behind Hannibal. The Raiders were third at the Hannibal Invitational earlier this season, finishing behind the second-place Pirates. And both ended up winning their conference championship.
Monday at Scripps Park Golf Course in Rushville, QND posted a 360 to win by 74 strokes. Meredith Eversman was the WCC individual medalist, shooting an 83. In fact, the Raiders had the top three individual scores with Belle Boudreau shooting an 85 and Ellie Price carding a 90.
Boudreau has been consistent at the top of the Raiders’ lineup, and they have developed some depth with Katie Kinder and Caroline Knuffman. It could be the recipe for a regional title with QND one of the top teams in the Class 1A Brown County Regional at Rolling Greens Golf Course in Mount Sterling.
The field contains several of the teams QND beat for the title at the Macomb Invitational at Colchester’s Gold Hills Golf Course two weeks ago.
Raiders cleanly sweep WCC championships
While the QND girls golfers used Monday’s WCC Tournament as a postseason springboard, the QND boys team used the conference tournament to remind the rest of the Class 1A QND Regional field it means business.
The Raiders won the conference crown by shooting a 318 last week at Hamilton’s Deer Run Golf Course. Konnor Craven won the individual crown with a 73 and was one of six Raiders to finish in the top 10 and earn all-conference plaudits.
If that wasn’t enough to build postseason momentum, the Raiders won last Saturday’s Galesburg Invitational at Bunker Links Golf Course, posting a 305 team score. They had four scores in the 70s with Craven earning medalist honors with a 71.
Sophomore Beau Eftink continues to shoot in the 70s consistently and the lineup is deeper than most Class 1A teams. The Raiders haven’t played in the Class 1A state tournament series since 2015, but dropped back down this season and will play host to Wednesday’s regional at Westview Golf Course.
Chargers seeking return to state tourney
If there is a team capable of denying the Raiders a regional title, it’s Illini West. The Chargers earned their first state tournament appearance last season, finishing sixth in Class 1A at Prairie Vista Golf Course.
Illini West finished second at the Prairieland Conference Tournament, finishing xx strokes behind Class 2A Macomb. Nick Bruns, a junior, and Colby Robertson, a senior, both finished in the top 10 at the conference tourney, and they duplicated their top-10 finishes at the Titan Invitational at Monmouth’s Gibson Woods Golf Course.
Bruns took individual medalist honors at the Titan Invitational and has been a leaderboard staple all season. Robertson consistently shoots in the 70s and gives the Chargers a solid second score every time out. If the bottom of the lineup produces, look for the Chargers to be in the regional title mix.
Blue Devils hope time is right to make run
The Quincy High School boys golf team didn’t play as well as the Blue Devils wanted or expected in the Western Big 6 Conference championships, but last weekend’s play at the Galesburg Invitational seemed to right the ship.
To contend in a loaded regional and sectional, the Blue Devils know they must go low.
QHS finished second at Galesburg with a 307 team total as three individuals finished in the top eight. Freshman Ty Novosel was third with a 74, sophomore Hunter St. Clair was fifth with a 75, and senior Gabriel Gold was seventh with a 76.
It was a stark improvement in just five days. The Blue Devils shot a 332 to finish third at the WB6 Tournament with Novosel earning first-team all-conference plaudits with a 77. He was the only QHS golfer to break 80. Gold (80) and Ben Weber (82) both were second-team all-conference selections.
Quincy will travel to the Class 3A Edwardsville Regional at Belk Park Golf Course on Wednesday, hoping to navigate a tough field in order to qualify for the Pekin Sectional at Lick Creek Golf Course.
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