The Hillsboro boys golf team teed off for the first time in the 2021 season on Thursday, Aug. 12, as they played in the 10-team Taylorville Invitational at Lakeshore Golf Course.
Led by three sectional qualifiers from last year’s team, the Toppers shot a 364 on the day to finish in the upper half of the field in fifth spot. Mt. Zion edged Williamsville for the team title, shooting a 335 to the Bullets’ 336, while Jacksonville (341) and Charleston (353) rounded out the top five.
The aforementioned three returning sectional qualifiers all finished in the top 25 on Thursday, marking a good start to their senior year.
Preston Lyerla and Drake Vogel both finished in the top 10 at the event, which was won by Jacksonville’s Brady Kaufmann. Kaufmann shot a 2-under-par 70 to take medalist honors over Mt. Zion’s Jack Driscoll (78) and Williamsville’s Carson Conklin (79).
Lyerla finished eighth overall, but his 86 was just three strokes out of a top five spot. Vogel would be just two strokes behind his teammate, shooting an 88 to tie for 10th overall. Riley Taylor of Mt. Zion and Nick Burgess of Effingham also shot 88s on the day, with Taylor taking home the 10th place plaque after a scorecard playoff.
Dillon Smail would finish just outside the tightly grouped lead pack, shooting a 92 to tie for 23rd with Kyle Abraham and Jake Cooper of Pleasant Plains and Ryan Johnson of Taylorville.
The rest of the Hillsboro lineup was getting their first taste of varsity experience as freshman Tycen Thacker and sophomores Hayden Titsworth and Austin Loskot took up the fourth through sixth spots for Coach Jim Luckett.
Thacker broke 100 in his prep debut, shooting a 98 to tie for 34th. Titsworth was 48th with a 108 for 18 holes, while Loskot shot a 113 to finish 54th out of 61 players.
All told, it was a solid start for the group, who has a tournament heavy schedule this season, with opportunities to play at Belk Park, Macomb Country Club, Oak Brook, Mattoon Country Club, Fox Prairie and Indian Springs still on tap.
Belk Park will be the first of those destinations as they visit the home of the Hickory Stick Invitational, hosted by East Alton-Wood River, on Monday, Aug. 16.
August 12 at Taylorville
Lakeshore - Par 72
Boys Team Results: 1. Mt. Zion 335; 2. Williamsville 336; 3. Jacksonville 341; 4. Charleston 353; 5. Hillsboro 364; 6. Effingham 367; 7. Pleasant Plains 379; 8. Lincoln 413; 9. Taylorville 414; 10. Greenview/Athens 437.
Individual Top 10: 1. Brady Kaufmann (Jacksonville) 70; 2. Jack Driscoll (Mt. Zion) 78; 3. Carson Conklin (Williamsville) 79; 4. Brent Hansen (Mt. Zion) 80; 5. Cole Brewer (Williamsville) 83; 6. Will Seman (Williamsville) 84; 7. Jackson Becker (Charleston) 85; 8. Preston Lyerla (Hillsboro) 86; 9. Alex Kuykendall (Charleston) 87; 10. Riley Taylor (Mt. Zion 88); 10. Nick Burgess (Effingham) 88; 10. Drake Vogel (Hillsboro) 88.
Hillsboro (364) - 8. Preston Lyerla 86; 10. Drake Vogel 88; 23. Dillon Smail 92; 34. Tycen Thacker 98; 48. Hayden Titsworth 108; 54. Austin Loskot 113.