If you told Evan Diedrich this would have been the end, he would have just laughed at you.
The Mattoon High School junior finished his golf as the best golfer on the team at the IHSA Class 2A state boys golf tournament at Wiebring Golf Course in Normal. That might have come as a surprise to some who have followed the sport. After all, the team featured the back-to-back Apollo Conference champions Stewart Druin and Madden Johnson. Both have played state golf before, while Blaine Powers was a state qualifier as an individual last year.
Instead, Diedrich’s second day score of 77 gave him a 152 stroke total for the 36-hold event and a 16th overall finish that earned All-State status.
“I was pretty surprised because I was not thinking about going into it,” he said. “I was just going in there to help out my team to make it to day 2 because that was our goal.”
Mattoon missed the cut among the 12 team entered in the state meet, finishing in ninth place. Only the top eight continued to Day 2. But the Green Wave finished a stellar season with two golfers on the second day. Johnson, a state qualifier as a freshman last season, joined Diedrich while seniors Powers and Druin just missed out.
“I was very excited and happy for Madden to make it to Day Two,” said Diedrich. “Blaine and Stewart were very close to making it to Day Two so the team was pretty bummed about that.”
Diedrich became the fourth individual in school history to claim all-state honors and the first since Nicholas Nguyen in 2017, who was a two-time All-Stater. Nguyen finished 11th in 2016 and then posted the best overall finish in school history of fourth-place in 2017. Brothers Nick Heller (11th in 2009) and Kris Heller (7th in 2011) also earned all-state.
Diedrich said that he felt he had a chance to earn All-State status towards the later part of the round.
“I was striking the ball well so I had a feeling it was going to be a good day as long as I didn’t make any bad mistakes,” said Diedrich. “Hole 8 killed me both days. Once I got to about hole 16, I checked the leaderboard and saw I was near the top so the nerves and adrenaline started to kick in.”