LA SALLE – In August, Kaneland boys golf coach Mark Meyer projected the 2012 Knights as perhaps his strongest group in eight seasons.
For a time, the Knights fit the ball. For a time, they stumbled.
On Wednesday, Kaneland returned to the top, capturing its third successive Northern Illinois Big 12 East crown.
Medalist Brody Kuhar paced the Knights with a 73 at Senica’s Oak Ridge Golf Club, helping Kaneland to a team score of 310 that was comfortably ahead of runner-up Yorkville (325) and third-place Sycamore (333).
“We really are clicking mentally, and it’s just becoming more fun,” Kuhar said. “We’re having fun with it now. Being with the team all the time and just golfing well.”
Fellow junior Matt Yonkovich followed Kuhar with a 76, while seniors Luke Kreiter (80) and Connor Williams (81) were next.
Navigating a course that switches from wide open on the front nine to more tight on the back, Kaneland relied on adjustments. Kuhar shot 79 in a practice round Monday, and he wasn’t the only one to lower the score that counted.
Birdies on holes 6, 8, 9 and 16 helped Kuhar keep his score low.
“I was just making putts and sticking shots close to the pin to make them,” he said. “I did that consistently all round.”
Kaneland’s team score was eight strokes better than NI Big 12 West champion Ottawa, whose tournament was played simultaneously but scored separately. The Knights needed to finish at least two places better than Sycamore, which entered the tournament unbeaten in the league dual season.
“That’s just how it shook out,” Meyer said. “We’re pretty pleased about that.
Wheaton Academy 156, St. Francis 165: At Pheasant Run in St. Charles, Wheaton Academy (13-0, 8-0 Suburban Christian Conference) closed a perfect dual season behind co-medalists Danny Gryfinski and Grant Gosden, who both shot 37. Dan Mochel led St. Francis with a 39.
St. Francis 2, St. Edward 0 (25-16, 28-26): At Elgin, strong net play keyed St. Francis’ SCC crossover sweep. Molly Haggerty (14 kills) and Kristin Acciavatti (nine) sparked the attack, and Mary Boken added five blocks.
Aurora Central Catholic 2, Walther Lutheran 0 (25-9, 25-18): At Melrose Park, Kelsey Talkington led 8-15 ACC with five kills.