GENEVA – Fudging the math might have been tempting for Megan Kelly as she balanced a clipboard in a golf cart Tuesday night.
One of Kelly’s duties as Geneva girls golf team captain is tallying the Vikings’ final score, and the hearsay from teammates suggested things with St. Charles North were tight.
Neither the numbers nor Kelly lied at Mill Creek Golf Club, host to North’s narrow 171-175 Upstate Eight Conference dual victory. Even as she grinned at the thought of going back to bend the truth, Kelly figured “why bother?”
“I was really hoping we were going to win this one, but we were really close, so I’m really happy with our team,” Kelly said. “And I’m proud of our team. We all did really well.”
Kelly started the trend by earning medalist honors with a career-best 37, her first sub-40 round in a nine-hole match. The senior twice eclipsed that benchmark in 18-hole tournaments, most recently in Saturday’s Cougar Classic at Vernon Hills Golf Course.
Junior Elise Anderson followed Kelly with her own personal best, shooting 43.
Stacking those scores against North’s top two efforts – Ariana Furrie (39) and Jessica Grill (42) – certainly created cause for tension at night’s end.
“They were right on us in each group, it seemed like,” Furrie said. “It was fun.”
North (5-2, 4-2 UEC) rounded out its scoring with separate 45s from Maddy Bolz and Jordyn McFarlane, who provided just enough breathing room to outpace Geneva’s Megan Rush (47) and Mary Clare Novak (48).
On their senior night, the Vikings (5-4, 4-4) snacked on chips and cookies at the end of the round, and graciously invited the North Stars to share.
A few North players approached Kelly about her score, while Furrie and Co. got their share of congratulations from Geneva.
“That’s how a conference match should be, especially a good, close rivalry,” Vikings coach Eric Hactzel said. “A St. Charles school, whether it’s us or Batavia. When you’re having that much fun and shooting that low of a score and being that competitive, that’s what makes this sport so much fun.”
North Stars counterpart Chris Patrick appreciated the outcome enough, but still stressed improvement on the greens, namely short-arming too many initial putts.
Furrie found herself in the team’s target range of 15-16 putts per nine holes. Mill Creek – not her team’s home course but plenty familiar as a summer junior tournament site – long has been conducive to getting up and down.
“The holes aren’t too long, so when I’m on the greens in 2 or 2ish, I think it’s reasonable,” Furrie said.
Kelly birdied one hole, No. 14, and was generally efficient with her drives and irons.
As she and the rest of the Vikings threaten to deliver more breakthrough rounds, Hactzel has stressed playing steady while keeping the same balance mentally.
“I started really well. I also ended really well. I was grinding out there the whole time,” Kelly said. “I was really focused, and it really helped me.”
By the time she took hold of the clipboard, it all added up to a clear head. Kelly’s next step was elementary.