As far as host Southwestern Illinois College was concerned, it was lights out on the competition as the Blue Storm golf team won the SWIC Tournament over perennial favorites John A. Logan College and Rend Lake College.
RLC Warrior Charlie Throgmorton played like a champion, however, even if most of the other competitors were in the dark when it came time to play The Orchards Golf Course in Belleville on Saturday and O’Fallon’s Stonewolf Golf Course on Sunday.
Throgmorton, a freshman from Paducah, KY (Heath High School), rode a three-under 33-35--68 at The Orchards to an impressive 36-hole total of 68-73--141 and a share of individual honors with J. Eagan of Fontbonne College (MO). Eagan fired Sunday’s best round at Stonewolf en route to his 71-70--141.
A playoff for the title would have been in order under normal conditions. But darkness had long before set in, making the finishing holes difficult on a majority of the golfers.
Southwestern Illinois competitors were among the first to tee off both days . . . at 1:15 p.m. or shortly thereafter. Rend Lake College players were in the last threesomes to finish, with Logan and Danville Area only slightly better off in terms of lighting. One Warrior lost his ball on the final hole, even though all witnesses agreed it was hit down the center of the fairway.
The Blue Storm, a non-contender in previous tournaments this fall, took advantage of their familiarity with the courses and favorable playing conditions to post a winning four-player, 36-hole score of 291-297--588, six strokes ahead of runner-up Logan at 293-301--594 and nine up on RLC at 299-298--597. Danville was fourth in the 11-team field at 305-304--609.
The Volunteers, two-time defending Region XXIV champions, have finished second in four of seven Midwest tournaments this fall and third once. Coach Dave Smith’s Warriors, winners of eight consecutive Region XXIV crowns prior to the recent Logan reign, has won twice, finished second twice and third three times.
"Charlie had no bogies on Day One . . . three birdies and the rest pars. Sunday, he was just steady all day," Smith commented. "I thought he had the potential to be our best freshman, but then last weekend (John) Major stepped up and (John) Singleton has been playing well, so Charlie has been playing in the No. 3 slot for us. They all seem to be comfortable with those positions, although it doesn’t really mean all that much."
Throgmorton, 12th in the one-class Kentucky High School state finals as a senior, shot even-par in the 16-team Parkland Invitational to place third individually in the second event of the fall campaign. He tied for fifth overall in last weekend’s Illinois Central Invite with teammates Major and Brian Kuddes.
Singleton (Liverpool, England) recorded a 74-75--149 despite losing his ball on the 36th hole. Kuddes (Alton / Senior H.S.) was next at 79-75--154, with sophomore David Killion (Bloomington, IN / North H.S.) contributing on Sunday with his 80-75--155 and Major (Hillsboro) doing likewise on Saturday with his 78-85--163.
Caleb Hughes and Sean McNemar tied for third overall and led Logan’s second-place showing with scores of 70-74--144 and 69-75--144, respectively. Fifth overall was SWIC’s Kyle Lickenbrock at 72-73--145.
The Warriors return to action Thursday and Friday in the Danville Area Fall Invite at Turtle Run Golf Club. The following week, the RLC Invitational October 2-3 at Rend Lake Golf Course will serve as the traditional final rehearsal for the all-important Region XXIV Golf Championship at Lock Haven Golf Club in Alton. The top two teams advance from the downstate regional to next spring’s National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Finals.
SOUTHWESTERN ILLINOIS INVITATIONAL
The Orchards Golf Course ~ Belleville / Par 71
Stonewolf Golf Course ~ O’Fallon / Par 72
Saturday-Sunday, September 20-21
1. Southwestern Illinois College 291 - 297 -- 588
2. John A. Logan College 293 - 301 -- 594
3. REND LAKE COLLEGE 299 - 298 -- 597
4. Danville Area Community College 305 - 304 -- 609
5. Lindenwood University (MO) 307 - 311 -- 618
6. Fontbonne College (MO) 320 - 321 -- 641
7. Kaskaskia College 324 - 226 -- 650
8. Lincoln College 329 - 324 -- 653
9. John Wood Community College 320 - 334 -- 654
10. Lewis & Clark Community College 327 - 332 -- 659
11. Webster University (MO) 353 - 349 -- 702
1. Charlie Throgmorton (RLC) 33-35--68 37-36--73 141
J. Eagan (Font) 71 70 141
3. Caleb Hughes (JAL) 70 74 144
Sean McNemar (JAL) 69 75 144
5. Kyle Lickenbrock (SWIC) 72 73 145
REND LAKE COLLEGE INDIVIDUALS
1. Charlie Throgmorton, Fr. 33-35--68 37-36--73 141
John Singleton, Fr. 74 75 149
Brian Kuddes, Fr. 79 75 154
David Killion, So. 80 75 155
John Major, Fr. 78 85 163