Beau knows: Up-and-down for par on No. 18 caps impressive regional round by QND sophomore
QUINCY — The number of strokes Beau Eftink needed to get up and down from behind the 18th green was going to determine just how pleased he would be with his final score.
The moment he hit his chip shot from above the green’s collar, the Quincy Notre Dame sophomore golfer felt a twinge of disappointment.
“I didn’t really chip it how I wanted to,” Eftink said. “I left it a little short of where I wanted it.”
Still, his ball caught the crest of the slope above the hole and trickled down to the green’s lower level, leaving Eftink a relatively flat 10-foot putt.
“I happened to roll it in, which was nice,” Eftink said.
The par-saving up-and-down put an exclamation point on a stellar round as Eftink posted a 3-under 68 to earn individual medalist honors and led the Raiders to the team title of Wednesday’s Class 1A QND Regional at Westview Golf Course.
“It just brings us confidence that we can keep shooting good scores,” Eftink said after the Raiders posted a 303 to win the championship by 25 strokes. “We’re coming off two good rounds. That tells us we can shoot good scores, and that gives us confidence.”
Illini West finished second at 328 and Pittsfield was third at 332. All three advance to Monday’s Auburn Sectional at Edgewood Golf Course. The Raiders posted the lowest score in the four regionals that feed into the Auburn Sectional.
Bloomington Central Catholic won the Greenview Regional with a 316, while South Fulton shot a 331 at the Brown County Regional and LeRoy posted a 359 at the Decatur St. Teresa Regional.
“I knew we had a pretty good shot at winning, but you still have to come out here and play well,” said QND senior Konnor Craven, who finished second individually with a 1-over 72. “Hopefully we can ride this confidence into sectionals and do the same thing.”
Edgewood Golf Course should give the Raiders a chance to do that.
“The back nine is tough with sloped front-to-back greens,” Craven said. “It’s gettable if you’re hitting it well.”
The Chargers, who made the first state tournament appearance in program history last season and finished sixth, believe they can hit it well enough to challenge for one of the three advancing spots, even if they aren’t familiar with the Edgewood track.
“I’m sure we’ll play a practice round to get a feel for it,” Chargers senior Colby Robertson said. “Then, try to go low.”
That’s exactly what Eftink did.
He opened his round with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 — both par-4s — and then made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6 — both par-5s. It put him atop the leaderboard for the remainder of the day.
“Birdieing No. 1 is a nice feeling,” Eftink said. “Then I birdied No. 2 and that helped even more.”
After birdieing the par-5s, Eftink wanted to see how low he could go.
“I was just thinking, ‘Let’s try to make more birdies,’” he said. “Make as many birdies as I can. Once you start trying to go for pars, you hit squirrelly shots and make bogeys and stuff.”
Playing in the group behind Eftink, Craven did his best to stay close. He played the front nine in 1-under 35 and was 1-under through 14 holes before a pair bogeys knocked him back a little. He finished with back-to-back pars for s 72.
“I hit 14 greens, but the putts weren’t falling today,” Craven said. “I was very defensive with the putting. I couldn’t figure out the speed and the way they were breaking. I left a couple strokes out there.”
Still, he knows if he continues to strike the ball the way he did Wednesday he’ll end up in the state tournament field.
“If I do the same thing at sectionals and hit 14 greens and have 72 on my scorecard, I’ll be happy,” Craven said.
Matthew Boudreau shot an 81 for QND, while Michael Venvertloh and Olliver Hendrian both carded 82s.
Robertson and Illini West junior Nick Bruns both shot 78 to tie for sixth and lead the Chargers to their 328 total. The short game proved to be one of the major differences.
“Putting was a little tipsy sometimes, but my chipping was good,” Robertson said. “I chipped in once and left myself tap-ins several other times off my wedges.”
Pittsfield freshman Isaac Mcglauchlen tied for third with a 76, matching Payson Seymour’s Aden Frese. The Saukees’ Brennan Tomhave carded an 81 to finish ninth. The other area golfer in the top 10 was West Hancock’s Brayson Smeltser, who was fifth with a 77.
Joining Frese and Smeltser as individuals advancing to sectionals were Griggsville-Perry’s Logan Fencik (84), Western’s Alex Peters (87), Camp Point Central’s Cole Peterson (87), Unity’s Jimmy Boccardi (87), Central’s Joey Boehler (88) and West Hancock’s Wade Gooding (88).
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