Fulton seniors Kyle Workman and Evan Eissens climbed the leaderboard in Saturday’s final round of the Illinois High School Association boys golf tournament. Workman tied for sixth and Eissens tied for 25th in the two-day event at Prairie Vista Golf Course.
“That’s a good feeling,” Workman said of being in the top 10. “My dad was watching the leaderboard a bit, and after nine holes I was about 15th, then went back down.”
Workman shot a 78 each day for a 156 total that left him tied with Marc Cox of McLeansboro Hamilton County and Steven Becker of Breese Mater Dei. They finished two shots behind fifth-place finisher Nick McCall of Winnetka North Shore Country Day.
“They were pretty similar, almost identical,” Workman said of his rounds each day. “You have to be able to play consistent. The wind was pretty much the same. I pretty much played the same both days.”
Battling a double-digit mph wind for the second day in a row provided a challenge, Workman said. He added that on the front nine, most holes were either with the wind in the face or from behind, while the back nine featured more cross-wind holes.
He said keeping iron shots low was a key.
“I had a couple of run-ins with the wind,” he said. “It’s amazing how much it pushes the ball around. As far as what club to use, with the wind I would club down a club to a club-and-a-half, into the wind, maybe three, four, five more.”
The wind also affected his putting.
“It seemed like I was struggling with putting a bit (Saturday),” Workman said. “I think I was standing over the ball and trying to be smooth about it, but you have the wind pushing you around. I kept leaving them short because I was scuffing them.”
Workman began his final round on the front side and had back-to-back bogeys after shooting par on the first hole. He then came up with his lone birdie of the day.
“It was with the win, so the wind was helping, and it’s a short par 5,” he said. “I was right next to the green (after his second shot), chipped on and one-putted. After a couple of bogeys, a birdie kind of smooths it over a bit.”
Workman closed the front nine with a par, a double-bogey, a par and a bogey. He parred seven of the holes on the back nine, bogeying Nos. 11 and 13.
Workman plans to continue his golf career at the collegiate level. Right now, three schools — Ashford, Black Hawk and St. Ambrose — are in the picture.
“This is one of the bigger things schools look at,” he said. “When you’re in the top 10 you’re first on the list. It really stands out to them.”
Regardless of where he goes, he will have plenty of memories from his high school career. He made three trips to state, tying for 35th as a sophomore and 26th last year.
“The main thing will be the sixth place at state,” he said. “But there’s also the 68 straight wins over the last few years, going 23-1 this year and last year having the undefeated season. I really would have liked to see the team go to state, though. We were really close.”
Eissens was tied for 46th after shooting an 84 on Friday, but he shaved five strokes off his total Saturday to finish at 84-79—183. The big difference for him came on the front nine. After making three bogeys and three double-bogeys on the front side Friday, when he shot a 45, Eissens had a birdie and six pars to go along with a bogey and a double-bogey as he shot a 38 on Saturday.
Austin Sproles of Downs Tri-Valley shot a 73 on Saturday to pull into a tie with Bismarck-Henning’s Andy Bott at 150, then parred the first hole in a playoff to win medalist honors by one stroke. North Shore Country Day won the team title by three strokes over Bismarck-Henning with a team total of 645.