Benton’s Stilley competes on national stage

Darren Kinnard

WHITTINGTON — After an impressive freshman season, Benton’s River Stilley had a summer to remember. Stilley qualified for the US Junior Amateur by finishing in the top three at a qualifier in Owensboro, Kentucky.

River and his family made the trek across country to Bandon, Oregon, where he competed against 263 of the best 19 and under amateur golfers in the world. At 15, Stilley was one of the youngest members in the field, playing in unfamiliar conditions.

After struggling on the back nine on day one, Stilley rebounded with an even par round of 71 day two–closing with back to back birdies. The top 64 advanced to match play. While Stilley didn’t make the cut, he finished in the top half of the field.

Now back home, the focus is now on his sophomore season. Stilley is part of a loaded Rangers’ team that finished state runner up a year ago, led by 2A individual state champ Cy Norman.

Stilley and the Rangers open their season Thursday at the IHSA Showcase in Bloomington.