ROCKFORD – Byron ran away with the 1A Rockford Christian Life golf regional at Elliot Golf Course. Led by medalist Dan Lowe (77), the Tigers had a score of 315.
In a close battle for second place on the 6,600-yard, par-72 course, Oregon edged Rockford Christian 341 to 347. Both teams also qualified for the 1A Byron Sectional that will be held Monday at PrairieView Golf Course.
“In the 7 years I’ve been coaching, this is the first time I’ve had a team qualify,” Oregon coach Jim Spratt said.
Taylor Brubaker and Carson Buck paced the Hawks with an 83 and 84. Other scorers were Ben Gardner with an 86 and Mitch Nehrkorn with an 88.
“Brubaker bounced back after a 44 on his first nine,” Spratt said. “I told him not to get down on himself."
Oregon returned to 1A action after being bumped up to 2A in 2012.
The Hawks are quite familiar with PrairieView.
“We know the course well enough to be competitive,” Spratt said. “The kids played there all summer.”
So dominating was Byron that it swept the first four positions on the leaderboard.
Eastland's Devin Hartman and Newman's Todd Nelson tied Buck for eighth place with 84s, good enough for individual qualifying.
“It was a little rough out there,” Hartman said. “The greens were rolling pretty good. I had a lot of 3-putts and really couldn’t make anything.”
Last year, Hartman shot a 79 at the regional and 78 at the sectional before earning a state medal.
“I know it’s there. I've just got to get it back,” Hartman said.
Nelson was much happier with his round than Hartman.
“My putting was pretty good, and I didn’t have any terrible holes,” Nelson said. “It was my two best nines (41 and 43) in an 18-hole meet.”
Eastland's Logan Lessman grabbed the final qualifying spot with a 90.