For the second year in a row, the Hillsboro High School boys golf team qualified four individuals on to the sectional tournament from regionals. This year, the Toppers made a little more noise and brought up some yet to be resolved “what if” questions.
The senior foursome of Dom Haggard, Dillon Smail, Drake Vogel and Preston Lyerla combined to shoot a 337 on the day, which would have put them fifth among the teams at the Class 1A McLeansboro Sectional at Green Hills Golf Club on Monday, Oct. 4.
Whether the Toppers would have advanced to state if they would have finished in the top three is still awaiting a reply from the IHSA, but regardless, Hillsboro made an impact at Monday’s sectional.
All four Toppers shot 90 or better on the day, with 23 pars and six birdies in their collective 72 holes of play.
Dom Haggard, who advanced to the sectional by virtue of a playoff at the Marquette Regional on Sept. 29, led Hillsboro with a 9-over-par 80, with rounds of 39 on the back nine, followed by a 41 on the front half of the course.
Haggard had two pars and back-to-back birdies on the par-4 15th and 16th holes in his first nine, then added four more pars in the front. His round good enough to tie for 18th overall in the 111-player field and was agonizingly close to the cut for a state berth of 79.
Dillon Smail also narrowly missed a chance at state, shooting an 82 to finish in a tie for 27th. Smail made the turn at 3-over-par, with five pars and a birdie on the back nine. A triple on the par-5 first hole was a setback, but Smail was solid the rest of the way out with four more pars, giving him a team-best nine on the day.
Drake Vogel, who like Haggard qualified after a regional playoff, shot an 85 to finish 37th at the sectional. Opposite of his teammates, Vogel had some trouble with the back nine, shooting an 11-over-par 47, but made up for it on the back with a 3-over-38, highlighted by birdies on his final two holes.
Preston Lylera rounded out the Topper contingent and finished 66th with a 90 on the day. Lyerla started off with back-to-back double bogies, but finished the back nine by going par-birdie-par to escape with a 44. The front nine would be another tough test, but the Hillsboro senior picked up his fifth par of the day and finished the round with a 46.
While the sectional signified the end for the four Toppers, they have left big shoes to fill for the next crop of Hillsboro golfers. Currently, seniors made up four of the seven spots on the HHS golf team’s roster, meaning that Hillsboro will need some more bodies come next fall when the 2022 season tees off.
October 4 at Mt. Vernon
Green Hills Golf Club - Par 71
Boys Team Results: 1. Oblong 320*; 2. St. Anthony 321*; 3. Vandalia 321*; 4. Anna-Jonesboro 328; 5. Hillsboro 337; 6. Altamon 338; 7. Steeleville 340; 8. Father McGivney 343; 9. Gibault 343; 10. Okawville 344; 11. Marquette 349; 12. West Frankfort 352; 13. Nashville 354.
*State Qualifying Team
**Hillsboro did not qualify as a team, but qualified four players as individuals.
Medalist: Chase Laack, Sr. (Vandalia) 72.
Individual Qualifiers: A.J. Johnson (Goreville) 73; Luke Lasley (Anna-Jonesboro) 74; Parker Boehne (CORL) 76; Ben Herron (West Frankfort) 77; Kevin Hall (Altamont) 77; Tyler Stonecipher (Altamont) 77; Antonio Ybarra (Metro-East Lutheran) 78; Joey Hyten (Father McGivney) 78; Lucas Whittington (West Frankfort) 78; Caleb Trieb (Marissa) 79.
Hillsboro (337) - Dom Haggard 80, Dillon Smail 82, Drake Vogel 85, Preston Lyerla 90