ST. CHARLES - Brenden Day was feeling it.
Even before tee off at Monday’s Bogey Hills Invitational, the Warrenton junior sensed positive vibes heading his way after launching a string of moonshots from the country club’s driving range earlier that morning.
“If I’m hitting it like this it’s going to be a good day,” he thought to himself.
Day’s day turned out better than anyone else’s.
His 6-over-par rounds of 77 earned him medalist honors in the 52-player White Division. And a third-place finish from two-time state qualifier Travis Toebben (81) helped power the Warriors to second place overall (338), just three strokes shy of Ft. Zumwalt South’s team crown in their opening tournament of the season, which was hosted by St. Charles High.
“Not only is that Brenden’s lowest score in an 18-hole tournament, but that’s also his first time finishing in first place at the varsity level,” Warrenton Head Coach Aaron Jinkerson said. “It’s a pretty big win. I think a lot of people always count on Travis to be our first-place guy, but we have three or even five guys who can step up whenever needed.”
Day took the leap for the Warriors Monday, which isn’t completely surprising considering he’s been setting up personal hurdles to conquer his entire prep career.
“I always want to keep getting better,” Day said. “Before my sophomore season I had a goal to make sectionals and I did that. Now, my goal is to make state. Winning this was really awesome and humbling because I’ve never done it before. Now hopefully I can keep things rolling to accomplish my goal.”
Following a monster rainstorm the night before, cold and wet conditions at Bogey Hills didn’t provide pristine golfing weather. The added precipitation produced problems for some, but not Day, who’s prone to looking on the bright side of things.
“At least it was better than last year when it was snowing at tee off,” he said. “Honestly, I thought it was great out there and I felt really comfortable. The rain softened things up and the greens were fast, but I was able to adjust.
“I played really well on my front nine and was one under at one point, so I figured if I could just post 70-something I might have a chance to win. And I was in one of the first groups that finished so for a while there I was just sitting around nervously waiting for all the scores to come in.”
After Day and Toebben, junior Kole Hammerberg, a new addition, was Warrenton’s next best finisher, tying for ninth (86). Junior Gavin Prior was 19th (94) and sophomore Shane Brosenne 20th (95).
“I’m really proud of how the kids played,” Jinkerson said. “I had a score in mind for all five of them before the start and all five of them exceeded my predictions. With the varsity group we have this year, I totally expect to contend for our first conference title.”
After Zumwalt South and Warrenton, St. Charles was third (342), followed by Lutheran St. Charles (365), Ft. Zumwalt North (392), St Charles West and Francis Howell North (397), Pacific (421), Ft. Zumwalt East (449) and O’Fallon Christian (498).
While first was just out of reach Monday, Jinkerson believes second could be a useful motivator for his team going forward.
“I think it’s a good way to start because it keeps them pushing,” he said. “Now they have something to strive toward the rest of the year. And you can make up three strokes on the golf course pretty easily. That’s for sure.”
Before the solid Bogey Hills showings, the Warriors opened their campaign at home last Thursday against Ft. Zumwalt East and won 162-212.
Hammerberg led the way shooting a 39. Day, Toebben and Prior each had a 41 and Brosenne a 48 in his first varsity match.
The junior varsity team also was victorious with Austin Shepard taking medalist honors with a 44.
The Warriors are back in action this Monday when they travel to Hillsboro for the Mid-East Invitational Tournament.