Kris Heller has more driving him than a goal of finishing in the top 10 of the Class 2A state tournament at Illinois State's Weibring Golf Club.
The Mattoon senior also has a bit of brotherly rivalry on the line.
Heller's brother, Nick, had an 11th place finish during the 2008 state tournament, which is also the best finish in school history.
"It's great to have that type of brotherly competition," said Heller, who will play in his third state tournament in four years. "And there's also that school record. But (Nick) is a pretty good sport. We'll talk about it when it's all over with."
But Heller isn't trying to get ahead of himself. He knows he has to stay focused during his final shot at state.
"He knows the course and is confident in his game plan," Mattoon coach Bob Lockhart said. "Kris' strength is knowing how to approach this weekend and knowing what he needs to do on each hole."
Heller was 61st at state in 2008 and 33rd last year.
The rest of the 2A individual field includes Garrett Cox, who helped lead Mahoment-Seymour to the 2A team title last year; Springfield Lanphier's Ben Patton, who tied for eighth overall at state last year; Johnny Wirth, who was tied for eighth overall and helped Waterloo to a sixth place team finish; Matt Weber, Burlington Central's sophomore who also tied for eighth overall last year.
Among the 2A teams are Belleville Althoff Catholic, which was third in state last year, and last year's fifth place squad, Galesburg. Lemont, LaGrange Park Nazareth and Sterling return, as well. Peter Black, who was sixth overall individually last year, leads Champaign Centennial.
You have free articles remaining.
Not much returns from last year's qualified teams or top 25 individuals.
One of the fresh faces at this year's 1A tournament at Bloomington's Prairie Vista Golf Course is Casey-Westfield, which took third at Monday's Tuscola Sectional to qualify for state for the first time in school history.
Avery Murphy, Landry Husinga, Brandon Glidwell and Chris Lee have led Casey the whole year.
"The pressure's off them now," Casey coach Dennis Matthews said of his top four golfers after the Tuscola Sectional. "We achieved our main goal, going to state as a team. It's time to have fun now."
State tournament-mainstay Effingham St. Anthony, which was 2010's state runner-up, is the only returning team.
But, none of the golfers on the Bulldogs' current squad were on last year's team. Yet, this year's St. Anthony's team has lived up to tradition by winning the Robinson Regional and taking third comfortably at the Carlyle Sectional. Junior Joe Powell has averaged a team-best 73.5 round during the postseason.
The only returning individual from last year's top 25 is Alex Templin of Mount Sterling Brown County.