Mission accomplished for the Pekin boys golf team and Morton star Tommy Kuhl.
The Dragons won a team trophy for their third-place finish and Kuhl was medalist for the second straight year on a hot late summer day Saturday in the 32nd annual Dragon Classic tournament at Lick Creek.

It's the first Dragon Classic team trophy for third-year Pekin coach Brett McGinnis.

"This is one I really wanted," he said.

The top four teams in the Dragon Classic win trophies. Pekin and Morton tied for fourth place last year, but the Potters won a scorecard tie-breaker.

Defending Class 2A state champion Normal U. High won the Dragon Classic team title Saturday with 301. Morton (303), Pekin (306) and Edwardsville (310) rounded out the closely bunched top four.

Bloomington Central Catholic and Champaign Central (321), Normal Community (325), Bloomington and East Peoria (335), Washington (336), Peoria Notre Dame (338), Normal West and Peoria Richwoods (339), Quincy (340), Geneseo (344), Metamora (357), Galesburg (364), Belleville East and Pontiac (373), Springfield (376), Rock Island (382), Belleville West (383) and Danville (399) rounded out the team standings.

The best four of six scores on the front nine and best four of six scores on back nine count toward a team's score in the Dragon Classic's unusual team scoring system.

Kuhl shot a 3-under-par 69 Saturday, just like he did last year at the Dragon Classic in winning the individual championship. The Illinois recruit shot the lone sub-par round Saturday.

Morton coach Jamie King said he likes what he's seeing from Kuhl in his senior season.

"Tommy has grown a lot when it comes to being patient," King said. "He has every shot in his bag and he wants to go 100 percent with each shot, but sometimes it's not the right time and place and you have to be more conservative."

Kuhl had birdies on No. 2, 4, 8, 11 and 13 and bogeys on No. 6 and 15 Saturday. He had pars on the other 11 holes.

Pekin's Mason Ghidina (73, third), Jack Halstead (75, ninth) and Mason Minkel (76, 10th) won medals for top-20 individual finishes. Justin Taphorn (85), Cooper Theleritis (85) and Jacob Hill (86) also competed for the Dragons.

"I'm sure all our guys would say they left a few shots on the course, but they did a great job," McGinnis said.

Ghidina had 39 on the front nine and 2-under 34 on the back nine. Halstead had 43 on the front nine and 4-under 32 on the back nine. Minkel was a more steady 38-38.

"Mason (Minkel) played well for a freshman in his first Dragon Classic," McGinnis said. "Playing on his home course helped, I'm sure."
Bobby Strode (77, 12th), Isaac Ingold (79, 19th), Connor Vicary (80), Taylor Osing (88) and Case Coon (90) rounded out Morton's lineup.
King said he was impressed by his team's grit en route to its runner-up finish.

"Lick Creek is an incredibly difficult course and on a long, hot day, when the heat takes its toll, it's easy to lose your focus," he said. "Our kids kept competing and grinding, even when they weren't playing their best."

The Potters have an interesting mix of players in their lineup with three seniors (Kuhl, Ingold and Strode) and three sophomores (Vicary, Osing and Coon). Only Vicary among the sophomores had varsity experience before this season.
Pekin and Morton were two of five Mid-Illini Conference teams in the Dragon Classic field. The others were East Peoria, Washington and Metamora.

Matthew Cox (75, eighth) led the way for East Peoria. He was followed by Tanner Lang (87), Reid Johnson (88), Austin Siegrist (88), Dominick Hahn (90) and Jackson Perdue (106).

Adam Kinsinger (84) topped Washington. Kendal Hofer (85), Richard Fitzpatrick (86), Nathan Sporrer (87), Cody Sedlacek (88) and Brett Coughlin (89) also competed for the Panthers.

Colten Kahler (83), Grant Hammer (87), D.J. Smock (91), Hunter Lucas (97), Jake Oderwald (99) and Tyler Seymour (106) made up Metamora's lineup.

Turks tumble: Tremont lost 176-180 Thursday to Peoria Christian in a boys golf match on the front nine at Kellogg.

Tim Rice of the Turks shared medalist honors with Peoria Christian's Cole Cox. Each shot 5-over-par 41.

Also scoring for Tremont (13-2) were Colton Polhemus (46), Landon Pflederer (46) and Alec Gilmer (47). Nolen Leiva (48) and Torrin Lawson (49) also competed for the Turks.

Justin Post (42), Isaac Ramsey (46) and Charlie Hemmer (47) also scored for Peoria Christian.

Steve Stein can be reached at stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.