Ryder Bellios became the first Evanston golfer to survive the Illinois High School Association’s new format of establishing a “cut” from the first round to the second round of the state golf tournament.
But the Evanston Township High School senior standout wasn’t able to maintain the momentum he established on Friday and settled for a tie for 54th place finish overall at the Class 3A tournament held at The Den in Bloomington on Saturday.
With rounds of 78-85-163, Bellios finished in a tie with Peter Sakkos of Hinsdale Central for 54th place. He faded on the final six holes Saturday after climbing into the top 25 in the individual standings after his first 12 holes.
Bellios battled back after a slow start in the first round and registered one of the top 40 individual scores among competitors who weren’t part of the team competition and advanced under the recently established new format.
He earned an overnight stay and an unforgettable experience, according to ETHS head coach Jed Curtis.
“I know Ryder’s disappointed that he didn’t come down here and play his best,” Curtis said. “But he didn’t want to go home after one day – and he didn’t. The way he grinded it out just to make the cut was impressive and I think he played great.
“He had to put a lot of mental energy into it on Friday. He played even par on the back nine to make it, even though it was windy and cold out there. I think that took a lot of out him. It was hard on him mentally.
“I thought he played brilliant golf. To play even par on that back nine was just fantastic, and on Saturday he made two of the longest putts – for a birdie and to save a par – that he’s ever made. It was a great experience for us.”