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Edwardsville boys golf returning most of roster

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Edwardsville boys golf returning most of roster

What a difference a year makes.

Edwardsville entered last season with a roster of unknowns after graduation losses included Southwestern Conference champion Hayden Moore and Tyler Janson and play in 2020 was limited to the region due to COVID protocols.

Still, even with a roster heavy on freshmen on sophomores, the Tigers won their 19th Southwestern Conference championship in 21 seasons and advanced to the Class 3A Lockport Sectional after a third-place finish at the Class 3A Collinsville Regional.

On Monday on the first day of practice, EHS coach Adam Tyler welcomed back eight of his top 10 golfers from 2021.

August 11 at Prep Tour Showcase at Den at Fox Creek, noon

August 12 at Lincoln-Way West Invite, 9 am

August 16 at Redbird Tee-Off Classic, 1 p.m

August 20 at Quincy Invitational, 8:30 am

August 20 at Warren Township Invite, 1 p.m

August 26 at Champaign Central Invite, 1 p.m

August 26-27 hosts Dick Gerber Invitational

August 30 at SWC Tournament at Stonewolf, TBA

September 9-10 at Craig Dixon Invitational at Mattoon

September 16-17 at Dragon Classic at Beijing

September 20 at SWC Tournament at Belk Park

September 23 at U-High Invitational, 1 p.m

September 24 at Arnie’s Cup at Den at Fox Creek, 11 am


“This is the first year in a long time where we are bringing most of our kids back. Most everyone is back and a year older. It’s going to be exciting to see how they build off last year,” Tyler said. “Last year, we had a full season of travelling. They were able to get a taste of varsity golf at Edwardsville. Now, we get to repeat last year. It’ll be interesting to see them a little more comfortable in a varsity setting.”

Among the returning golfers from the postseason lineup are sophomore Mason Lewis, junior Carter Crow, sophomore Bryce Pryor and junior Bennett Babington.

Lewis became the program’s first regional champion since 2016 when he fired a 1-under 71 to win the Class 3A Collinsville Regional. A week later, he just missed advancing to the state tournament after losing in a playoff at the Lockport Sectional.

Crow finished runner-up at the SWC Tournament, shooting a two-round score of 148 to help the Tigers rally from a seven-stroke deficit against O’Fallon to earn the league championship. He also finished second at the Mattoon Invite with a two-round score of 147 to help EHS to the team title with a score of 609, including a season-best 295 in the first round. He also had two rounds of 3-under 69s earlier in the season to win the Madison County Tournament and Alton Tee-Off Classic.

Also back are sophomore Joe Chiarodo and junior Kolton Wright, among others.

“It’s huge,” Tyler said of bringing back a majority of his roster. “The guys are going to be comfortable and there are not going to be as many nerves. Last year, our best scores were put up at our local courses. Having been able to travel around the state last year, it’s going to be more fun this year with the kids familiar with the courses.”

For as good as EHS was last year, Tyler expects them to take another step forward this year after a busy offseason.

“We had some kids that worked really hard this summer,” Tyler said. “Mason Lewis was traveling all over the Midwest to play and it shows. He is playing really well right now. He has a chance to be one of the better players in the area.

“Carter Crow has also put in a decent amount of work and Bennett Babington has been playing a ton this year.”

The Tigers will open the season Thursday in the Prep Tour Showcase at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington. It is the site of the Class 3A state tournament on Oct. 7-8.

EHS will remain in Bloomington for the Lincoln-Way West Invitational on Friday. It will also be played at The Den at Fox Creek.

“Golf is interesting,” Tyler said. “You spend all summer by yourself playing in tournaments and now you’re in a team atmosphere playing with all of your friends. I think the kids really like the two-month period of being with each other and playing for each other as well as themselves. I think they are eager to get back into it.”

With the 2021 season providing the Tigers a chance to travel again after the 2020 season was limited to regional play due to the coronavirus, many of the golfers were playing courses for the first time.

Tyler said he is interested to see how the players are this season with much more familiarity of the courses.

“Obviously, you’re going to have nerves at a young age, especially when you are paired up with seniors from Lake Forest and Hinsdale Central. The nerves are also from not having played the course,” Tyler said. “Now, having played the courses and being familiar with them, it makes a huge difference. It’s good to be familiar with the course before you’ve played it.”

Thursday’s first tournament comes in a hurry considering practices just started Monday.

Tyler had the varsity players out on the courses early Monday and Tuesday mornings. They were given Wednesday off.

At Monday’s first practice, nearly 40 kids showed up for the Tigers.

“This is the most kids we’ve had out here since I’ve been here,” Tyler said. “That’s a huge testament to the Junior PGA and what Mike Suhre and Jon DePriest are doing with the Junior Gateway PGA. We have 40 kids out this year, including a lot of younger kids.”

This season, the Tigers will also play in the Redbird Tee-Off Classic on Tuesday; the Warren Township Invite on Aug. 20; the Champaign Central Invite on Aug. 26; the Dick Gerber Invitational on Aug. 26-27; the Southwestern Conference Tournament on Aug. 30 and Sept. 20; the Craig Dixon Invitational on Sept. 9-10; the Pekin Dragon Classic on Sept. 16-17; the U-High Invitational on Sept. 23 and Arnie’s Cup on Sept. 24.

The competition won’t be limited to tournaments, though.

“Iron sharpens iron,” Tyler said. “We have 10 kids fighting for six spots. The kids pushing each other in practice will go a long way in preparing for tournaments.”

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