The Hillsboro golf team opened its season March 30 with a third-place finish among the eight schools competing at the Sacred Heart Invitational Tournament in Salina.
The Trojans registered a team score of 355, which left them 70 strokes behind the defending Class 2A state champions from Sacred Heart, who scored a 285, and Clay Center with a 334.
Trailing the Trojans were Central Plains (357), Ellsworth (371), Smith Center (389), Minneapolis (410) and St. John Military (416).
Elliot Ollenburger led Hillsboro with an 18-hole score of 86, which tied him for 14th place in a field of 49 golfers. Grant Herrenbruck of Sacred Heart was the top medalist with a 67.
Joining Ollenburger for Hillsboro’s four-man score were Carson Herbel, with an 87 for 16th place, Joe Knoll, with an 89 to tie for 17th place, and Elias Werth who shot a 93 to tie for 22nd.
Also competing for a varsity score were Caroline Roth, 27th with a 96, and Colin Settle, 36th with a 103.
“Considering less-than-ideal conditions, I am pleased with our first outing,” coach Scott O’Hare said. “Elliot and Carson both posted career-low 18-hole rounds and Joe broke into the 80s in his first high school golf competition. That is the first time in several years that we have had three golfers post scores in the 80s.
“Elliot had a very solid round,” he added. “He had back-to-back holes on the front nine and again on the back nine that kept him from posting a score closer to 80, which would be outstanding for him. He seems to be very close to breaking through to posting some scores possibly in the upper 70s if he can eliminate little mistakes.”
O’Hare said having six players in the varsity lineup, instead of only four a year ago, contributed to the success of the team.
“Having the opportunity to drop the two highest scores certainly helped,” he said. “Our best team score last season was 383, so posting a 355 is something to be proud of.
“We are expecting to go even lower,” he added. “We have set a goal to shoot a team score in the 330s and I think that is certainly realistic.”
Coming—The Trojans were scheduled to play at Herington April 4. The team will make its home debut Friday when it hosts the Hillsboro Invitational with a 1:45 p.m. start.