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Father McGivney's Hyten battles back for Dick Gerber title before hitting the ice

Father McGivney's Hyten battles back for Dick Gerber title before hitting the ice

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EDWARDSVILLE — Joey Hyten is going to be able to one-up his friends at the ice rink when he straps on hockey equipment.

Once the Father McGivney freshman hangs up his clubs and dons a hockey helmet for practice, he'll have a gleaming medal dangling from his neck.

"It's weird, a lot of hockey players are good golfers," Hyten said. "A lot of my good buddies are good golfers, but I get to rub it in their face (Saturday night after) shooting a 69."

Hyten blitzed Fox Creek Golf Course with a 3-under-par 69 in the second round of the Dick Gerber Invitational boys golf tournament Saturday to grab medalist honors with a combined score of even-par 144. 

O'Fallon High junior Caden Cannon finished second with a 1-over par 145 while Triad's Garrett Wood and Althoff's Avery Irwin tied for third with a 5-over 149. 

Hyten was four shots off the lead and in a three-way tie for eighth after Friday's first round. With so many experienced golfers in the field, Hyten said he knew making a charge for the title was daunting. 

"I wasn't even thinking I would win," Hyten said. "I was just hoping to hit maybe a 75 again. After a few holes, I was getting more comfortable. It was a fun day to be out here."

Hyten shot a 3-over 75 on the first day at Oak Brook Golf Course on Friday before shaving six strokes off that score to pick up the win.

The freshman's performance helped Father McGivney claim a fifth-place team finish with a combined team score of 676.

"I believe this is kind of a coming-out party for us," Father McGivney coach Dale Renken said. "I don't believe anyone thought we'd finish fifth against the teams that showed up (Saturday)."

Mater Dei took won the team championship with a two-day combined score of 625, shooting a team score of 322 in the second round after standing second after the opening round Friday with a 303.

Althoff finished second at 638 after firing a second-round 330, and first-round leader O'Fallon finished at 640 after a 338 in the second round.

Mater Dei had three individuals finish in the top 10. Ian Berndsen, who led individually after the first round, tied for fifth at 150, Carter Goebel tied for seventh at 153 and Aiden Moss was ninth with a 161.

"I told them to prepare mentality, this course is nothing like (Oak Brook)," Mater Dei coach Parker Lawrence said. "You'll be forced into a lot of tough situations where you'll have to be prepared to make bogeys at worst. I was very proud of them. When they got into trouble, they hunkered down and grinded."

Hyten, a standout for the Triple-A St. Louis Blues hockey club, splits his focus between the two sports even though he admits that his love of the ice may overshadow his love for the links.

Just hours after his win at Fox Creek, he headed to the ice with his hockey team as it prepares for the upcoming season.

"It's tough," said Steve Hyten, his father and Father McGivney's assistant coach. "The hockey is definitely his main focus and takes a lot of his time, but they happen for the most part in two different seasons." 

Steve Hyten pointed out the motion for a hockey swing and a golf swing are similar.

"I hit about 20 6-iron (shots) today," Joey Hyten said. "I picked out a club I knew I could hit and I got a few lucky bounces and my chipping was really good. I probably made five or six 8-footers. It was just a good short game today."

Joey Hyten displayed the ability to brush off a bad shot and move forward with a positive attitude.

"I just took a drink of water, maybe a few deep breaths and got rid of it," Hyten said. "Pretend it didn't happen and move on to the next hole."

The six-shot turnaround from the first round to the second came as no surprise to Renken.

"This kind of golf course may suit him better," Renken said. "A lot of kids like to blast it off the tee, but Joey has the ability to hit every club the same and control it. I didn't really need to tell him anything. He's got such a great golf mind and that comes from his family. He goes out there and just does what he needs to do."

Steve Hyten played golf at Edwardsville High and helped the tournament's namesake, former coach Dick Gerber, amass more than 650 tournament wins as the Tigers' coach.

"It's a tricky course, but thankfully I had my dad with me to guide me through the course," Joey Hyten said. "He kept me cool and I could hit a shot confidently. That was a key, putting in those good swings."

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