CENTRALIA — If Thursday’s boys golf tournament were a boxing match, the fight would have been stopped after a series of standing eight counts in the first round. That’s how decided the advantage was that Belleville Althoff held over the field.

The Crusaders shot a scintillating 282 (the best four individual scores added together) on a picturesque day at Greenview Golf Club in Centralia. To put that score in perspective, Althoff’s best four scores over 18 holes averaged 70.5 per man with par at 70.

The match was dubbed the South Seven Conference Preview Invitational. The host orphans were a distant second place at 361 or 79 strokes back of the lead. Marion was third at 377. Mount Vernon was fourth at 400 and Carbondale rounded out the field at 419. Cahokia – the sixth member of the South Seven Conference – does not have a boys golf team.

Medalist honors for the day went to Althoff’s Max Bruening, who was positively on fire, shooting a five-under-par 65. His brother, Parker, had the second-best score at 68. Teammate Mason Kumming of the Crusaders had the third- best score at 71.

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Carbondale senior Ian Davis, a state qualifier last year, was fourth out of the field of 30 golfers with a solid season-opening round of 72 or two-over-par.

“I didn’t really hit it very well today – not my best stuff,” Davis said. “Fortunately, my short game kind of saved me.”

Davis said he was playing pretty well at the end of his junior season, but there is plenty of room for improvement.

“I’m just hoping to get a lot more consistent this season,” he said. “I want to win. There’s no reason to go and play in a tournament if you don’t plan to win. I just need to keep practicing and give myself the best chance I can to win each tournament.”

Davis, who will attend Dartmouth University next school year, said he tries not to look ahead to postseason tournaments.

“I’m just taking it match by match and am trying to have fun. I’ve got a bunch of new teammates and I’m excited to play with them and get to know them better. I would like to help them out with course management as much as I can. It’s nice to have a bunch of kids around to talk to. It will be fun.”

Carbondale head coach Wendell Wheeler said Davis performed the way he expected him to perform.

“Ian was solid today. He had a little bit of a rough run on the back nine, but still shot a 72. We also had four freshmen and one sophomore playing their first varsity match and I’m happy with their effort. There’s no substitute for experience, and it was good for those kids to get to meet kids from other schools and play. It’s all about getting better and becoming more consistent hitting the ball.”

Jimmy Gomric of the Crusaders followed Davis in fifth with a 78. Brother, Luke Gomric, of Althoff, checked in with an 83 as did Marion’s top player for the day, Kegan Kronsbein. That duo tied for sixth. Althoff’s Dylan Ysursa – the sixth-best player for his team on the day – tied for eighth with Quaid Morgan of Centralia.

Others shooting under 100 for the day include: Jack Harre of Marion and Owen Donnelly of Centralia (90), Aiden Endres of Centralia (93), Titus Ashford of Centralia (94), Riley Tompkins of Mount Vernon (95), Eli Piper of Mount Vernon (96), and Marshall Wolfe of Centralia (98).

Marion head coach Stan Stout said he was pleased with his team’s outing.

“It’s always fun to get out for the very first meet of the year and see what the boys have in their gas tanks,” Stout said. “We have a brand-new look Wildcats team this year. These kids have absolutely no varsity experience, and to be totally honest, I was very impressed with their efforts.

“I had two scores under 100 and two scores right around 100,” Stout said. “We have some things to build around. Our motto has been to find the middle of the club face and I saw some controlled swings today. Now, we can learn to chip and putt and watch those scores come down even more.”

Stout said Kronsbein had a particularly impressive day.

“He was a walk-on junior this year. This is the first year that he had ever played high school golf, but did play in a few tournaments this summer and it showed today He had an 83 in his first-ever high school varsity match, that’s something to be proud of.”

Levi Ohley of Mount Vernon broke the century mark with a score of 101. Cruz Harlan of Centralia and Chandler McReaken and Ethan Stout of Marion turned in a 102. Matthew Joyner and Carter Lang, also of Marion fired a 107. Andrew Diekemper of Mount Vernon finished at 108, Weston Riggan of Mount Vernon followed at 109. Joo Young Lee of Carbondale notched a 113.

James Williams of Carbondale totaled 116. Cole Roberts of the Terriers was next at 118. CJ Robison of Carbondale earned a 120. Logan Wright of the Terriers finished at 135 and Sawyer Overstreet of Mount Vernon rounded out the field at 145.