Local golf: Tough Day 1 at Lincoln Highway
BYRON – Good scores were at a premium Saturday during the first 27 holes of the 90th annual Lincoln Highway Tournament at PrairieView Golf Club.
Only one individual was under par on Day 1, and only four of the 10 teams were in positive numbers in the best-against-bogey format.
Kishwaukee's Grant Goltz fired a 1-under par 107 to take a three-stroke lead over teammate Kyle Davis and Timber Creek's Mitchell Homb, who both shot 110. Emerald Hill's Matt Rosquist and PrairieView brothers Zach and Brady Szuminski were tied for fifth at 113, while four others – Emerald Hills' Josh Eggleston, Timber Creek's Scott Hargrave, Sunset's Brian Anderson and Kishwaukee's Rich Balla – were another shot back at 114.
"The course was set up long and they hid a lot of the pins," said Goltz, who shot a 2-under par 34 over his final nine holes to charge into the lead at the halfway point. "You just had to be patient, hit it to the middle of the greens and take your pars. A good shot could lead to birdie, but the key today was to avoid the big number."
Homb, the defending champ, was in first place through the opening 18 holes after firing a 1-under par 71. He struggled to find the fairway with his drives, but credited good shots out of the rough and some strong putting with keeping his round together.
"I didn't drive the ball very well, but I wasn't in jail or anything like that when I missed the fairways," he said. "The rough wasn't too penal, and I putted really well."
Davis played out of the Sixth Flight for Kish, but still managed to put himself in the thick of the medalist race. He also cited the tough pin placements as the reason the scores weren't lower, but also learned a lot that he will use toward his round Sunday.
"Your misses have to be in the right places," he said. "If you put the ball in play and make good shots, I think this course can be had."
"You just have to grind it out," Goltz added. "In this format, it pays to shoot birdies, but pars are also good. If you have a green-light shot, go for it; if not, take your par and move to the next hole."
In addition to the first and sixth flight players, Kishwaukee had three of its other four scores in positive numbers to take the team lead at +30 against bogey. Emerald Hill was in second at +13, with four scores in plus figures; Timber Creek (+9) and host PrairieView (+5) were the only other clubs with positive scores.
The tournament concludes Sunday with the final 27 holes. Tee times run from 8-10:40 a.m., with the leaders going off last.
"Chasing isn't a bad spot for me to be," said Homb, a two-time LHT champ and junior-to-be at SIU-Edwardsville. "I've got nothing to lose. I know I have to shoot a low number to help my team make up some ground, so that's going to be my focus."