About midway through the 2018 season, a talented O’Fallon Christian boys golf team knew it had the chance to be a serious contender for a state tournament berth.
On Monday, May 7, the Eagles completed that goal, thanks to a superb showing in the Class 2, Sectional 3 tournament at Norwoods Golf Club in Hannibal.
O’Fallon Christian bested Palmyra by 13 strokes [334 to 347] to win the first sectional championship in school history, and punch its ticket to state.
“We’ve gone to state before but not since they added the sectionals in golf,” said O’Fallon Christian coach Pat Turner.
In winning the sectional crown, O’Fallon Christian finished ahead of Palmyra, Macon and fourth-place Lutheran St. Charles.
Three golfers finished individually in the top seven for the Eagles. Senior Matthew Hahs was fourth with a 79 as he finished seven shots over par. Senior Caleb Sandy shot an 80 and finished eight strokes over par. Sophomore Gunner Stugart was the Eagles third top finisher, coming in seventh with an 81 at nine shots over par.
The scores were not quite as good as the group would have liked, but given the strength of the eight-team field, they were enough to keep the Eagles’ season going for another week.
“I think if we can just play our game and go hole by hole, and shot by shot, we honestly have a really good chance at winning state and doing something that our school has never done before,” Hahs said.
His coach agreed.
“Looking at our team, I think we’ve surprised a lot of folks already. I think we have the potential and we’ll have a chance,” Turner said.
On May 15, the Eagles made their first Class 2 tournament appearance, competing at Meadow Lake Acres in New Bloomfield against defending champion Bishop LeBlond, Palmyra, Mt. Vernon, South Harrison, Willow Springs, St. Pius X [Festus] and California.
They were looking to make some history. And that’s exactly what they did – claiming second place with a team score of 655. In the individual standings, Stugart claimed fifth place with a score of 155 and Hahs tied for ninth with 160.
St. Joseph’s Bishop LeBlond High took home the championship title, finishing with a score of 599.
After winning the Class 2, District 5 championship at Bear Creek Golf Club in April, the Eagles’ first crown in five years, Hahs described the team’s run as “amazing.” Noting the team’s talent, he said the season was panning out just like it was supposed to.
Having four strong seniors in Hahs, Sandy, Ayers and Creelman helped – giving the Eagles stability and balance match after match.
After sectionals, Turner cited his seniors’ ability to consistently drive the ball well and keep it on the course as major keys to getting solid scores each match.
“I know that all of our guys, especially our top three, can hit it long if it’s like 270 yards, but we just try to have them get to the point of playing good golf,” Turner said. “We tell them that golf is a game of six inches and that’s between your ears.”