Fort Zumwalt South’s Friedel makes name for himself by winning conference title | Boys Golf – Spring


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LABADIE — By any name, Joey Friedel is a conference golf champion.

The Fort Zumwalt South standout — shown throughout the day on the television scoreboard as “Friedez” — fired a 1-over-par 72 to win the Gateway Athletic Conference Central golf tournament Tuesday morning at Wolf Hollow Golf Club.

“Yeah, I saw that. But, it’s all good,” said Friedel, whose name is routinely misspelled or mispronounced, whether it be golf, baseball or basketball.

The conference crown is the first for the Missouri S&T-bound Friedel.

“I actually got off to a good start today, which is usually a problem for me. Usually, I’m a couple over after like three or four (holes), but I birdied 1 and I just played great after that,” he said. “I was in really good position off the tee most of the day, which made it a lot easier to hit greens. And then I was putting pretty good, too. Except for the fourth hole of the day. I had a four-putt on that hole, but I got it back.”

Friedel also clinched conference player of the year Tuesday. Points accumulated during conference matches during the year help account for earning that distinction.

“I think I got second last year, so I came up just short,” he said. “I knew coming in that I was gonna have to play really good and that I was gonna have to win the tournament today to win it outright.”

Friedel’s performance was part of an overall strong day for South, which won its fourth straight GAC Central team title with a score of 324, which was 13 strokes better than Washington.

Freshman Alex Bresler (81) and junior Ian Wilson (82) also cracked the top 10 individually Tuesday, with sophomore Zach Mesplay (89) and senior Isaac Risse (98) also chipping in for South.

“Joey’s been great all year and he’s been our leader for sure, but the supporting cast has been getting better and better throughout the year,” Bulldogs coach Andy Delehaunty said. “To finally have our lowest tourney total of the year, it came at a great time.”

Washington sophomore Alex Fregalette carded a 2-over 73 to finish just one stroke behind Friedel.

“The start (on Hole 10) was pretty rough. I topped a drive off the first tee. It was just bogeys and not very consistent hitting,” Fregalette said. “But after about Hole 16, I really picked it up and was hitting it well. And my wedge shots — specifically pitching wedge and gap wedge — were pretty much perfect all day.”

Wolf Hollow is the Blue Jays’ home course, so Fregalette felt right more than comfortable Tuesday.

“My opponents took shorter clubs on a lot of holes where they could have taken longer ones,” he said. “But I was also playing aggressive, so that also played to my advantage.”

Washington’s runner-up finish came with just one stroke to spare with Francis Howell North coming in just behind the Blue Jays.

“I think that’s really nice,” Fregalette said. “Last year, we didn’t come close, I don’t think. Our team scores have really picked up this year.”

Fort Zumwalt East junior Trey Rusthoven continued what is a busy week for him with a 4-over 75 to capture third place.

“I had some bad breaks and some stuff that I could have done better on, but it just wasn’t my day today, and that’s OK,” he said. “The course was playing 5,900 yards and that’s kind of hard for me. Usually, I hit it long and having an 8 or 9-iron in is my strength. But when I’m hitting a 4-iron off every tee and I have 135 (yards) in, I’m really in between clubs.”

All of the GAC Central golfers will now take part in their respective district tournaments Monday. The league’s three Class 5 teams (Francis Howell North, Fort Zumwalt North and Liberty) all will play in the District 2 tournament at Links of Dardenne.

Two of the GAC Central’s Class 4 teams (Fort Zumwalt East and South) will tee off in the District 2 tournament at Golf Club of Wentzville, while Washington will travel to Crown Pointe Golf Club in Farmington for the District 1 tourney.

“I feel good. I played a practice round there Sunday and played pretty well, so it suits my game well. I should have a good showing,” Rusthoven said. “I’m going to TPC Sawgrass (in Florida) tomorrow. I’ve got a tournament there Thursday and Friday, then I come back Saturday and play Monday. So, my game should be in shape.”

Tuesday’s top three finishers advanced out of districts last season to qualify for the Class 4 state meet in Joplin.

“I’ve had multiple rounds in the 70s this year and it feels really good, so hopefully I can make it to state again,” Fregalette said. “As long as I just focus on aspects of my swing, I should be ready to go.”

In fact, all three finished within three strokes of each other at state and with a reverse order of this year’s conference leaderboard with Rusthoven (tie for 14th) achieving all-state status with a two-day total of 154, and Fregalette (tie for 22nd, 156) and Friedel (tie for 25th, 157) right on his heels.

“This gives me good momentum,” Friedel said. “I feel like I can really score well there and go really low. It looks like a good weather day (the current forecast calls for sunny skies and 88 degrees), so I’m excited about that, too.”

By Harriet