MCNABB — Hall golf coach Tom Bauer spent the past two weeks preaching how every score matters.
Pete Mautino didn’t exactly buy in.
“Coach has always been talking about never giving up and all that stuff because it could always come down to the sixth score,” the Hall senior said. “You’re never listening to him and you’re just like, ‘Everyone says that coach.’ But the time he says it is actually the time that we needed it.”
After Tuesday’s Class 1A Putnam County Regional at Edgewood Park Golf Club, Mautino may listen to his coach a little more.
Hall won a three-way tiebreaker on the second tiebreaking criteria as the Red Devils snuck past fourth-place Seneca, fifth-place St. Bede and sixth-place Amboy-LaMoille to advance to Monday’s Class 1A Byron Sectional at Prairie Vista Golf Course.
After Beecher shot a 345 and Indian Creek a 355 to advance, Hall, Seneca and St. Bede all finished with a 362 team score, while A-L shot a 363.
Going off the fifth-best score tiebreaker, Hall’s Aaron Mitchell and Seneca’s Auston Jashari both carded a 98, while St. Bede’s Joseph Kim shot a 103 to eliminate the Bruins.
With the Red Devils and Fighting Irish still tied after the first tiebreaker, Hall’s sixth-best score — a 106 from Zach Vanderpool — bettered Seneca’s sixth-best score — a 109 from Brenden Tisler — to give the Red Devils the edge.
“I’m glad they came through for us,” Mautino said of Mitchell and Vanderpool. “If it was one more stroke, then we wouldn’t have gone as a team.”
The Red Devils also got some aid from their top two golfers as No. 2 golfer Nick Scheri and Mautino both parred No. 18 to finish the 362.
“All of my six kids will tell you that I’ve preached for the last two weeks how we could get second or third in this regional or how we could get seventh in this regional,” Bauer said. “I told them, ‘Everybody has to play until the end and, if we tie, it goes to the fifth score.’ Today, we tied on the fifth score and it came down to the sixth score. A guy who shoots over 100 doesn’t think it matters. Well, it does count. I’m just so happy for the kids.”
While Hall celebrated, it was yet another heartbreaking regional finish for the Bruins, who missed advancing to the sectional last year by a stroke and two years ago by three strokes.
“I just really don’t know why it is,” SBA sophomore Jarret Olson said. “We just seem to be always looking at one or two or three strokes shy from getting out of (the regional). I guess it’s just concentration with strokes.”
While Hall advanced out the regional as a team, five other area golfers also qualified for the sectional as St. Bede’s Olson and Joey Dudek and Putnam County’s Mitch Aimone as well as Bureau Valley seniors Logan Twidell and Ryan Young advanced.
However, Mautino led the way as the senior shot an area-best 81 to finish third overall.
“To start off the day, I struggled,” Mautino admitted. “I went bogey, double-(bogey) and I kind of got down on myself a little bit and started shanking some shots. Then I realized it comes down to every shot so I needed to just let it go and keep playing. As a couple of more holes went by, I started getting some pars and hitting my shots better.”
Olson wasn’t far behind as his 84 was good for fourth.
“I’m 0-for-2 as a team so I at least want to go 2-for-4 with the team in the next couple of years,” Olson said of SBA not advancing. “But next week I’ve just got to stay focused and need to stay positive. One bad shot can lead to another and lead to a bad round.”
Aimone lost a four-way tiebreaker for fifth, but his round of 86 was still plenty good to advance the freshman.
“This really means a lot, and it shows that hard work really pays off,” Aimone said. “With all the late nights out here, it’s good that it finally showed some results. I’m just excited to play at the sectional.”
Twidell added an 87 for BV, while Young’s 88 nabbed the final advancing spot of the top 10 individuals not on a sectional-qualifying team.
Beecher’s Michael Barber shot a 5-over-opar 78 to earn medalist honors.
Jared Bell can be reached at 220-6938, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.