The high school golf season is in full swing, with local teams taking the proper COVID-19 precautions as they hit the links.
“There’s a lot of restrictions, but it is what it is,” Waterloo High School boys golf head coach Dave Stites said.
The Waterloo boys opened their season with an eighth place team showing in the 18-hole Alton Tee-Off Classic last Tuesday. Logan DeFosset led the Bulldogs with an 84.
DeFosset, a sophomore, was Waterloo’s No. 6 golfer last year but has shaved his nine-hole per round average down from 50.6 to 42.5.
“He’s made quite a leap,” Stites said.
Last Wednesday, Waterloo shot a 173 to Dupo’s 253 during a nine-hole match at Acorns Golf Links. The Bulldogs were led by senior Jacob Dinkelman with a 40, junior Cooper Sandheinrich with a 43 and freshman Jaden Smith with a 44.
Smith has been an impressive newcomer, Stites said, and is in his team’s top four with DeFosset, Sandheinrich and Dinkelman.
Stites tentatively lists senior Zach Smith and junior Ian Schrader as the team’s fifth and sixth golfers, respectively.
“My one through four guys are pretty solid,” Stites assessed. “My five and six, they have to fight for their spots to keep them.”
There are a total of 19 players on this year’s Waterloo squad, Stites said. A welcome addition has been first-year junior varsity coach Trevor Metzger.
“I have a decent team,” Stites said. “We work hard and hope to improve as the season moves along.”
The Columbia High School boys also opened with an eighth place team showing at the Alton Tee-Off Classic. Alex Patrick shot an 86 to lead the Eagles, followed by Spencer Tate with an 87.
On Thursday, Columbia placed fifth at the nine-hole Goalby/Haas Classic in O’Fallon with a 174. Patrick again led the way with a 42, followed by Tate, Michael Madlinger and Hayden Siler with identical scores of 44.
“We are hitting a lot of greens in regulation but our short games are just a touch off and our driver has put us in some negative positions, resulting in bigger numbers which I can attribute to early season training being missed,” CHS boys head coach Tom Detmer said. “I’ve seen a multitude of outstanding shots already this year and I think we are in for a good year.”
Detmer said Patrick, a junior, “has a great feel for the game and knows how to score.”
Tate, a senior, returns with the team’s lowest average and is expected to lead the way.
Siler, also a senior, has improved his ball striking and length and should provide very solid scores, the coach said.
Detmer praised Madlinger, a sophomore, as a “diamond in the rough.”
“He has the ability to be one of the better players in the south in his future with some work and consistency,” the coach said.
Seniors Luke Joergens, Drew Graves and Sam Bollasina should all factor in for the Eagles as well, Detmer said.
“In the early going, we haven’t seen the early results I was hoping for but we lost out on two months of work (due to COVID restrictions),” Detmer said. “We have shown flashes of brilliance and when we learn to stay away from the big numbers, we will be a very solid team.”
The Gibault Catholic High School boys golf team should also be solid this season, if not spectacular.
“The potential is there for us to be really, really good,” Gibault boys head coach Steve Bergheger said.
Leading the way for the Hawks this season are seniors Ryan Kruse and Alex Sweeney.
Kruse shot a 38 to lead the team in a Thursday match against Mater Dei. Gibault shot a 161 overall in that match compared to Mater Dei’s 151.
Sweeney shot a 34 to lead the Hawks in a match last Tuesday against Chester and Steeleville. Gibault won with a team score of 152.
Rounding out the top five in Gibault’s lineup are senior Ryan Bollinger, junior Ian Bollinger and senior Landan Vollmer.
Battling for the sixth spot are Trey Fabie, Connor Kincheloe, Cohen Jackson and Eli Garcia.
For Valmeyer, the boys squad is coached this year by Bob Frierdich.
Top returning golfers for the Pirates include Drew Shevlin, Clay Juelfs and twins Ethan and Evan Rowe-Brown. Others expected to contribute this season are Dawson Goldschmidt, Fritz Schaefer and Colton Snyder.
The battle for local bragging rights takes place Sept. 3 at Acorns with the Monroe County Golf Tournament. This year’s tourney will be an 18-hole format with tee times starting at 1:30 p.m.
Another local squad is Dupo, which is in its second year as a program. Logan Ridenour is the head coach.
The Tigers opened their season with a team score of 253 against Waterloo at Acorns last Wednesday. Noah Chism led Dupo with a 54.
Other golfers for Dupo include AJ Williams, Jett Ray, Hunter Stephens, Anthony Castaldi and Logan Stevens.