There have been plenty of "fore"s at Indian Springs Golf Course near Coffeen, but the four that happened on Monday, Sept. 30, at the South Central Conference Boys Golf Tournament was a special one for the Hillsboro boys golf team.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Hiltoppers were crowned champions of the conference, shooting a 291 at their home away from home. The score was 34 strokes better than second place Vandalia and the best boys score in the three years the SCC tournament has been at Indian Springs by 12 strokes.
The championship was Hillsboro's 11th in 20 years, but four in a row had been elusive for the Toppers, who won three straight between 1999 and 2001 and in 2004 to 2006. Only Greenville had won close to as many titles as Hillsboro, winning five in the last 20 years, including four straight from 2012 to 2015.
The four-peat didn't end there though. Not only did Hillsboro get their fourth straight title, but senior Alex Eickhoff earned medalist honors for the tournament for the fourth consecutive time in his career.
Eickhoff had shared the crown each of his first two years, with teammate Alex White as a freshman and Vandalia's Scott Schulman as a sophomore, but earned the title outright last year with a 1-over-par 71.
This year he one-upped that performance, or three-upped it to be precise, as he fired an enigmatic 2-under-par 68 that featured five birdies, an eagle, a bogey and two double bogeys.
Eickhoff wasn't the only one to raise his game on Monday. Owen Malloy missed all-conference status by one stroke last year, despite being Hillsboro's sixth man with an 85. This year, Malloy tore up the course, shooting an even-par 70 to shave 15 strokes off last year's score and take second overall.
The top two would have plenty of company on the all-conference list as all six players made this year's list of the SCC's best of the best, a feat that Hillsboro had toyed with in 2018 (five) and 2017 (five).
Dane Huber and Alex White landed in the top five with Eickhoff and Malloy, with Huber shooting a 76 to take fourth and White carding a 77 to place fifth. Vandalia's Chase Laack would be sandwiched in third place in between the two Topper tandems with a 73.
Wilson Hamby would be tied for seventh with an 80, while Gunnar Micnheimer tied for tenth with an 82 in his conference tournament debut. Like Eickhoff and Malloy, Huber (77), White (80) and Hamby (83) all shot better on Monday than they did in 2018.
The Hiltoppers will have one last 18-hole tune-up on Saturday at the Taylorville Invitational before regional play begins on Oct. 7, at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Alton.
September 30 at Coffeen
SCC Boys Golf Tournament
Indian Springs Golf Course - Par 70
Boys Team Results: 1. Hillsboro 291, 2. Vandalia 325, 3. Carlinville 371, 4. Greenville 384, 5. Litchfield 387, 6. Gillespie 391, 7. Roxana 399, 8. Pana 4144, 9. Southwestern 425, 10. Staunton 450.
Boys All-Conference: 1. Alex Eickhoff (Hillsboro) 68; 2. Owen Malloy (Hillsboro) 70, 3. Chase Laack (Vandalia) 73, 4. Dane Huber (Hillsboro) 76, 5. Alex White (Hillsboro) 77, 6. Henry Kufa (Carlinville) 79, 7. Wilson Hamby (Hillsboro) 80, 7. Anthony Boston (Litchfield) 80, 9. Ethan Siglock (Carlinville) 81, 10. Gunnar Micnheimer (Hillsboro) 82, 10. Christian Bauer (Greenville) 82, 10. Jacob Schaal (Vandalia) 82.
Hillsboro (327) - Alex Eickhoff 68, Owen Malloy 70, Dane Huber 76, Alex White 77, Wilson Hamby 80, Gunnar Micnheimer 82.