Keep up with the area's high school golfers in Illinois and Missouri as they march through the postseason series.
|8/15||Madison County Golf Tournament||2nd Place | Reese Livingstone & Emma Baggio earned All-Madison County honors|
|Alton Girls Blast-Off|
|8/22||Metro East Shootout|
|JV Match (Par 3)|
|9/09||Alton Girls Invitational|
|9/11||4-Team Quad Match|
|9/12||JV only-Edwardsville (Par 3)|
|Gateway Metro Conference|
|9/20||Varsity Triangular Match|
|9/21||Gary Bair Invitational|
VARSITY ROSTER- 2023
Marquette Names Sharpmack New Girls Golf Coach
ALTON - Marquette Catholic High School has named Glen Sharpmack head coach of the Explorers girls golf program. Sharpmack succeeds Deb Walsh, who has retired from coaching.
Sharpmack was most recently the head coach at Roxana from 2019-2021, where he also served as an assistant from 2014-2018. Under Sharpmack’s leadership, Roxana advanced three players to the IHSA Sectional in 2021.
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“I love working with student-athletes,” Sharpmack said. “Deb Walsh has done a great job leading this program and I’m looking forward to continuing the success of Marquette golf”.
Deb Walsh earned Coach of the Year honors at Marquette Catholic in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Under her leadership, the Explorers won six Regional Championships and had four individuals play in the IHSA State Finals including Gracie Piar, the 2021 State Champion. As a team, the Explorers finished 9th in 2018, 4th in 2019, and 2nd in 2021.
“Deb indicated to the school she would like to step back from coaching recently. We are sad to lose her and want to thank her for many years of dedication to our students and the golf program,” said Marquette Athletic Director Brian Hoener.
“We of course do not want to lose an experienced head coach, but I am pleased we are able to move forward with Coach Sharpmack, who is well-known in the local high school golf community and well-respected.”
Bartosiak shakes off personal loss to help Alton Marquette to fifth successive regional crown
Bartosiak shakes off personal loss to help Alton Marquette to fifth successive regional crown
Ava Bartosiak of Alton Marquette hits her tee shot at the Class 1A Roxana Regional girls golf tournament Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, at Belk Park in Wood River, Illinois. Paul Baillargeon/STLhighschoolsports.comPaul Baillargeon
WOOD RIVER — Ava Bartosiak calmly drilled a 25-foot putt for birdie Thursday on the eighth hole of the Class 1A Roxana Regional girls golf tournament at Belk Park Golf Course.
The Alton Marquette senior immediately pointed to the sky with an ear-to-ear smile.
It was a silent tribute to her grandmother Betsy Bartosiak, who died Friday at age 93.
"I felt like it wasn't me making the putt, it was her," Bartosiak said. "I wanted to thank her."
Bartosiak managed to close out a difficult week by posting a 12-over-par 84 to help the Explorers to their fifth successive regional crown.
Marquette finished with a four-player score of 355, nine shots ahead of Highland (364). Father McGivney placed third (372).
All three teams advanced to the Class 1A Salem Sectional on Monday in Marion County.
Father McGivney freshman Sarah Hyten grabbed medalist honors with a blistering 1-under-71, 10 shots better than Marquette senior Lilly Montague, who recorded a career-best 81 to pace the Explorers' well-balanced attack.
But it was an inspired performance by Bartosiak that played a huge role in the team triumph.
"My grandma was so important to me," Bartosiak said. "She didn't really understand golf, but she always encouraged me to be better."
Bartosiak recorded a pair of birdies Thursday. Both came on lengthy putts with her grandmother on her mind.
"She was so proud of me," Bartosiak said. "Now it's my turn to be proud of her. For the rest of the season, everything I do is for her."
Bartosiak, who finished in a three-way tie for third in the 65-player field, played the round with a necklace her grandma gave to her. The dazzling piece of jewelry was meant for dress-up occasions, not athletic events.
But the diminutive Bartosiak plans on wearing it everywhere.
"It reminds me of her," Bartosiak said. "And that makes me happy."
The entire Marquette team attended Betsy Bartosiak's funeral Tuesday.
Ava has been overwhelmed by the support of teammates.
"We're a family through good and bad," Marquette veteran coach Deb Walsh said. "Everyone is there for one another no matter what."
Montague paced the Explorers with her career best 81, two shots above her previous best. Senior Jenna Dean (93) and freshman Reese Livingstone (97) also posted lifetime bests as the Explorers peaked at the perfect time.
"I'm super proud of this team," Montague said. "This is a cool feeling."
The regional title was extra special according to Walsh.
Marquette lost three key players from last year's squad including standout Gracie Piar, who now is competing at the University of California at Northridge.
"I don't think anyone thought we could do this," Bartosiak said. "Except us."
The Explorers have plenty of momentum heading into crunch time.
"As a team, we are doing the things we want to me doing," Montague said.
Hyten, one of the top 14-year-olds in the state, recorded four birdies — all on par-5 holes. She turned another in a series of red-hot performances by posting a 35 over her first nine holes on the way to a runaway victory.
"That's the goal to keep getting better every time I got out there," said Hyten, who tied her career best. "I just want to keep playing consistent golf and keep my game going in the right direction."
The top 10 individuals not associated with a qualifying team also advanced to play in Monday's sectional.
Bria Tuttle of Jerseyville finished fourth with an 85. Teammate Jerra LaPlant (87) also moved on.
East Alton's Piar adds STL Metropolitan title to Illinois state crown
East Alton's Gracie Piar’s first summer as an Illinois high school golf state champion has delivered another prestigious title for the 2022 Marquette Catholic graduate.
Piar began her June by winning the 30th St. Louis Metropolitan Women’s Amateur at Lake Forest Country Club in St. Louis.
“That tournament was awesome,” Piar said of her first appearance at the event. “It was at Lake Forest and that’s a really nice golf course. It was a fun tournament to win. Big trophy with my name engraved, that was nice. I played really well both of those days.”
Piar was one-shot off the lead after shooting 75 in the first round of the 36-hole tourney. Madison DeRousse, coming off her college senior season at Illinois-Springfield, was the first day leader at 74 and joined Piar as the only golfers to break 80.
Piar came back with a 74 the next day, with DeRousse falling back with an 81 to give Piar a six-stroke victory at 149. DeRousse, the tourney’s runner-up in 2018, was second at 155 with Madeline Larouere 17 shots off the pace at 166 to place third.
Piar in mid-June played in the 89th Illinois State Women’s Amateur at The Grove Country Club in Long Grove. “That is one of my favorite tournaments of the summer,” Piar said.
And for the second successive season, Piar made the cut in stroke play and advanced through three rounds of match play before being eliminated by the eventual state champion in the semifinals.
Piar’s 1-over par 73 tied for sixth in the qualifying round and she joined Edwardsville’s Nicole Johnson and Riley Lewis in the top 32 beating the cut. Johnson, who will be a Tigers senior, tied for fourth at 72. Lewis, a 2022 Edwardsville grad who will play college golf this fall at Iowa, shot 78 to tie for 22nd in the qualifying round.
All three locals got through the Round of 32 with match victories and came back for the Round of 16 later on the same Tuesday with the temperature reaching 96 and a heat index ranging from 105-109.
Lewis lost on the 19th hole, while both Piar and Johnson won 4-and-3 to make Wednesday’s quarterfinals. Bolingbrook’s Sarah Zheng, who finished 17th in the IHSA Class 2A state tourney last fall as a Neuqua Valley senior, defeated Johnson 2-up.
In the quarters, Piar played Winnetka’s Penelope Tir, a 21 year old who won the Illinois Class 2A state championship with New Trier in 2017 and is now playing at Dartmouth. Piar broke a tie by winning hole Nos. 15 and 16 to win 2-up and get to Thursday’s semifinals.
Piar was paired in the semis with Duke’s Megan Furtney, a third-place finisher for St. Charles North at the IHSA Class 2A state tourney in 2018. Piar was 1-up after 15 holes, with Furtney winning on 16 and 17 before Piar won 18 to force a 19th hole won by Furtney.
“That was a really fun match,” Piar said of her semifinal defeat. “She was up on me the whole front nine – like 1- and 2-up – and the back nine, we finally got back to even and I had her 1-up. Unfortunately, she beat me on that 19th hole.”
Furtney went on to beat Grace Curran, a 2016 IHSA Class 2A state champion with Lincoln-Way Central, in the championship match 2-up. Last year, Curran defeated Piar in the semifinals before winning the title.
“It’s amazing, so awesome to play with both of them, really,” Piar said of Minnesota’s Curran and Duke’s Furtney. “Last year, I played with Grace and I got so much insight on college. Same with Megan Furtney.”
Furtney has her own podcast on college women’s golf and what incoming players can expect. “Everything you need to know, really,” Piar said of Furtneys podcast. “I just love listening to that. It was so awesome to play with her.”
Piar, Johnson and Lewis continued on their shared summer path by playing in the 95th Women’s Western Junior Tournament at Prestwick Country Club in Frankfort. All three had a tough opening round, with Lewis and Johnson both shooting 80 and Piar coming in at 83.
Lewis rallied with a second-day 73 to match the cut with five others at 153, but was not one of the three to advance. Johnson shot 77 to finish at 157. Piar shot 76 in the second round to score at 159, but could not overcome a rare 83.
“Oh, wow,” Piar said with a laugh. “Actually, I hadn’t shot in the 80s at all this summer until, except that day. It had been a while. … Everything was off. I did not have my ‘A’ game that day. My tee ball wasn’t terrible. But my short game and my irons, they just weren’t there. If I didn’t hit the green, I couldn’t get up and down.”
Piar’s senior season at Marquette ended with a Class 1A state championship last fall after shooting rounds of 65 and 71 to win by five shots at Red Tail Run in Decatur. Piar’s 136 was the lowest score in the state tournament, in any class, since 2007.
Piar will begin her collegiate career in August when she reports for practice at Cal State-Northridge, but a busy June will be followed by a busy July for Piar. Along with Lewis and Johnson, Piar played close to home Tuesday in the Junior PGA Championship qualifier at Spencer T. Olin, with a second round on Wednesday.
Piar will play in the U.S. Amateur Qualifier in Tennessee in two weeks and close July in the Ladies National Golf Association Amateur Championship at Lake Forest CC in St. Louis on July 26-28. If she is unable to qualify for the Junior PGA or U.S. Amateur, Piar will play in the Illinois Women’s Golf Association Juniors on Aug. 2-3 at the prep state-tourney course at Red Tail Run in Decatur.
METRO EAST GOLF COACHES ASSOCIATION-ALL TEAM Class 1A
Grace Piar (Sr) - Player of the Year 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021
Audrey Cain (Sr) - 1st Team 2018, 2020 & 2021
Clancy Maag (Sr) - 1st Team 2020 & 2021
Ava Bartosiak (Jr) - 1st Team 2021 2nd Team 2020, 2022
Lillian Montague (Jr) - 2nd Team 2020, 2021 & 2022