Up for grabs
The winner of today’s Upstate Eight Conference River Division tournament at St. Andrews will be awarded zero points, while the runner-up gets three.
With St. Charles North and Batavia (two points apiece) leading St. Charles East and Geneva (four) entering the round, doing the math indicates today’s tournament winner also will take the overall league crown.
“Kind of an interesting day shaping up,” St. Charles North coach Rob Prentiss said. “I don’t remember that kind of scenario being in place before.”
Each Tri-Cities team had its moments during the dual season and boasts its share of top-tier golfers.
East’s Max Kelly has shined lately, but Nathan Podraza (Batavia), Raghav Cherala (North), Colin Lillibridge (Geneva) and Dan Shepherd (North) are among the players who figure to be at the top of the leaderboard, as well.
Some teams and golfers in the field could be back at St. Andrews in a few weeks, as St. Charles East will host a Class 3A Sectional there in October.
North is among a group that did not play any regular season duals at the course, but given its popularity as a summer junior tournament venue, lack of familiarity is far from a concern.
“If you live in this area, you’ve probably been by St. Andrews a few times,” Prentiss said. “But wherever you go, a lot of good golf is being played in our conference and division in particular. We’re looking forward to seeing how the day pans out.”
Knights descend on conference course
Kaneland coach Mark Meyer was unsure whether today’s Northern Illinois Big 12 tournament at Seneca’s Oak Ridge Golf Club in La Salle would start golfers at either holes 1 or 10 or disperse them throughout the course.
Given the nature of the layout – a wide-open front nine and a more tight set-up on the back – there figures to be a whole lot of shifting going on either way.
“You kind of have to change your game and change your mindset midway through the round,” Meyer said, “so it makes for an interesting experience at conference.”
The Knights embraced the challenge during a practice round Monday as they aim to catch front-runner Yorkville, which handed Kaneland one of its two losses during the regular-season dual schedule.
A balanced lineup that includes Luke Kreiter, Brody Kuhar and Matt Yonkovich has steered the team’s turn from a midseason lull.
“If we can play like I know we can, if we play our best and possibly make a run for first place, we’ll be happy with that no matter where we finish,” Meyer said. “We have to realize the past is the past, so if we play well in the conference tournament, we’ll feel great going into regionals and hopefully beyond.”
IN THE GROOVE
St. Charles North, Sr.
What she did: Furrie captured individual medalist honors at Monday’s Upstate Eight Conference tournament at St. Andrews in West Chicago, defeating Neuqua Valley freshman Jessica Yuen in a playoff after both shot 2 over-par 73 for 18 holes.
What he did: Got the best of the rare (in high school, anyway) Stableford scoring system. Yonkovich helped the Knights take third in a 24-team tournament at the Oak Club of Genoa on Saturday, scoring 33 points to take top individual honors. Stableford scoring affixes points in relation to a set score on a given hole, and rewards birdies more than it punishes bogeys.
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK Winning the Upstate Eight Conference girls tournament doesn’t always equate to winning the overall league crown. St. Charles North edged Waubonsie Valley by seven points for the tournament title at St. Andrews on Monday, but it was not enough to surmount a deficit from losing a pair of duals in the regular season.
WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD Which Tri-Cities boys team emerges from a tight pack at today’s UEC River Division tournament. Given the way the scoring shakes out, the winner of the 18-hole event at St. Andrews also will be the league’s regular season champion. St. Charles North and Batavia both were 5-1 during the conference dual season, while St. Charles and Geneva each went 4-2.
– Kevin Druley, firstname.lastname@example.org
COACH SLY SAYS
Not just yet.
Sly’s gotta figure there was some of that “Wait your turn” ‘tude brewing in STC North senior Ariana Furrie as she sized up Neuqua Valley freshman Jessica Yuen in Monday’s playoff for individual UEC medalist honors.
Whater stirred Furrie, it worked, as she won the UEC’s top individual honors for the second time in her standout career.
Yuen is sure to be back in coming seasons. Maybe one of the Tri-Cities’ many budding young golfers will play the foil next time.