Synergy has helped a young Vandalia golf team race out to a strong start this season.
But a technicality kept the Vandals from continuing a perfect start Monday at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Alton.
Freshman Derrick Herker’s 41 would have led the Vandals to victories over host Marquette and Piasa-Southwestern, improving Vandalia’s record to 7-0.
But he was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
Due to the disqualification, VCHS had to count a 51, which dropped its score to 192 – five strokes behind Marquette (187) and just one behind the Birds (191).
Jared Herker wound up leading Vandalia with a 42, followed in the top four by Craig Freeman (48), Wes Lindsey (51) and Kyle Hawkins (51).
‘Derrick learned a valuable lesson yesterday,’ Whitten said. ‘It won’t happen to him again.’
The unfortunate gaff aside, Whitten has been elated with his young team’s start this season despite the loss of three of its top-five scorers from a year ago.
‘I am surprised,’ Whitten said. ‘They are really learning and listening to what I say.
‘I am pounding course management and decision-making into their brains, and it seems to be making an impact.’
The Vandals cruised in their home-opener Thursday, as Jared Herker’s 36 took medalist honors in a 171-199 win over Beecher City at Vandalia Country Club.
Lindsey added a 44, while Derrick Herker had a 44 and Freeman had a 50. Zach Reiss and Dillon Higginbotham chipped in 51s.
Whitten feels the Vandals’ strong start is no fluke. In fact, he feels this team has the ability to do something last year’s 25-5 team could not do.
‘I really think we will get out (of regionals) as a team if we use our brains,’ Whitten said. ‘We don’t have a gunner that is going to go out and shoot three or four under. But I really think we have the ability to have four scores around 40. That will be competitive in most circumstances.’