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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

SHS readies for sectionals

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sikeston's Conor MacGillivray, Evan Deere, Conner Landers, Kirk Hoggatt and Ben Murray (from left) hit balls at the driving range in preparation for their upcoming sectional tournament starting Thursday at Dalhousie Golf Course in Cape Girardeau. Brent Shipman, Staff
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Gearing up for the Class 3, Sectional round for the Sikeston Bulldogs golf team has been somewhat unusual.

Their home course, the Sikeston Country Club, has been closed until further notice because of the relentless flooding that has engulfed most of the fairways, greens and tee boxes.

The greens that have remained above water have taken the visual of small islands.

"Whenever I first saw it, I thought there was no way this just happened," Sikeston junior Evan Deere said about the flooding. "If you go off of hole No. 1 and go far enough it'll be three to four feet deep."

Nonetheless, each qualifying member of the team was on the driving range Tuesday getting in as much practice as they could for possibly their last tournament of the year.

The Sectional round is scheduled to take place at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau on Thursday and is the gateway towards a state tournament appearance.

"It's very limited now," Sikeston golf coach Andy McGill said about their practices. "We're not able to play any at our course, which is a disadvantage. We're trying to make the best out of it by hitting the driving range, chipping and putting."

Although they have been limited to the driving range and the putting green, it's not all bad. Deere admitted, in particular, the short game practice has been an added plus.

"We've been chipping and putting quite a bit and it's helped my short game," Deere said. "We've been working more around the greens and that's where low scores come from."

The Bulldogs claimed a sectional berth as a team during last week's district tournament at Crowne Point golf course in Farmington. Deere, Conner Landers, Kirk Hoggatt, Conor MacGillivray and Ben Murray all qualified with their 338 combined score which placed them second behind District 1 winner, Notre Dame.

"The big thing I tell my guys is there's no plaques, there's no medals given out and you're just trying to get an invitation to state," said McGill about Sectionals. "We're just working for that goal."

Although they have not played at Dalhousie as a team this season, most of the Bulldogs have played the course frequently enough they know what's ahead of them.

"I've played there quite a few times," said Deere, who said he's played the course since he was 10 years old, "but it's definitely not my home course or anything. You can get in trouble in the tall grass. It's one of those courses where if you can hit fairways and greens, you'll hit a good score."

Some actually played last Saturday and noticed only minor issues with the course due to the overwhelming rain.

"The rough is uncommon for up there at Dalhousie," said McGill. "With the rain, I'm sure it makes it tough to shorten them. With today (Tuesday) being good weather and tomorrow (Wednesday) being good weather, hopefully they can get that mowed down.

"The good thing is, these guys have played that course before," McGill added. "That'll play an advantage too."

Although they have never played in a Sectional round, both Deere and Hoggat have been in this position before. They are the only Sikeston golfers with state tournament experience.

Deere has advanced to state in both his freshman and sophomore years. Hoggat qualified last year as a freshman as well.

"I've improved both years as far as scores go in both districts and state," Deere said. "This year, I've shot some better rounds so I'm hoping I can do better at sectionals and hopefully state than I have the past two years.

"This year, we're really excited. So far we've had a great year."

Joining Sikeston will be the teams of Notre Dame and, from District 2, St. Francis Borgia and Sullivan. Also, Dexter and Hillsboro each qualified individuals. Both teams and individuals can advance throughout the postseason.

Dexter and Hillsboro, for example, each qualified without a full team. Dexter has four qualifiers but can also act as a team if their collective scores are the lowest during Sectionals.

The top two teams out of sectionals will advance to state at Silo Ridge Golf Course in Bolivar, Mo.

"Our goal is to have all of them qualify," McGill said. "Since I've been here, we've had one or two go at a time, but it would be nice to have all of them go. The fact is, if all of our guys qualify, we'll go as a team anyway. All five are just trying to make it any way they can."

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