WEST DUNDEE – Sunset Monday was at 6:22 p.m.
The last state qualifier from the Class AA Burlington Central Girls Golf Sectional at Randall Oaks Golf Club was not determined until 28 minutes after that, when Addison Trail junior Gia DelaCruz sank a 5-foot putt to par the second hole of a playoff with St. Charles East senior Jane Noelker.
The playoff victory by DelaCruz in the fading twilight made her the 10th and final individual to advance out of the sectional. She and Noelker both finished with scores of 86 for 18 holes, 15-over par.
A gusty southerly wind in excess of 20 mph helped inflate scores and slow down play.
“The conditions were rough,” acknowledged Noelker’s teammate, Paige Jordan. “On the front nine, [the wind] was absolutely awful. … I did not know how to judge any of this. The last time I played in wind was state last year.”
After shooting an 84, Jordan will be making a return trip to the state meet, which will be held this weekend at Hickory Point Golf Club in Decatur. The East senior shot a 44 on the front nine.
“Oh, God, it was awful,” Jordan said of the beginning of her round. “It was absolutely awful. I flubbed like three chips.”
But she bounced back to fire a 5-over par 40 on the back nine, picking up birdies on the par-4 12th hole and the par-5 15th hole.
Jordan finished seventh in the individual standings, one shot behind Burlington Central junior Jenna Kurosky, who rallied from a 44 on the front nine with a 39 over the final nine holes.
“I think I should have done better on the front nine, but I liked the back nine score. That was good,” Kurosky said. “My iron shots were just all around better than they were on the front nine. And putting – that helped, too.”
Unlike Jordan, who was playing it for only the second time, Kurosky is very familiar with the Randall Oaks course.
“Luckily, I’ve played this course enough to know the club selection and what the wind does to each hole,” she said. “So that helped.”
It will be Kurosky’s first trip to state. Her sister, freshman Josie Kurosky, shot a 90 Monday, missing the state cutoff by four strokes.
St. Charles North senior Ariana Furrie, who finished tied for 15th at last year’s state tournament, flirted with not making the cut this time, shooting an 85. She started the day well with a 39 on the back nine, but she struggled on the front.
“It was really only a couple of holes,” she said. “I had a 7 on a par-3. That definitely didn’t help. My chipping – I don’t even know what happened. It was just bad. I hit it short, like right into the bunker. Then it took me two to get out of the sand.”
Furrie will be the only North player advancing to state. The North Stars qualified for the sectional as a team, but their score of 360 left them in fifth place. Crystal Lake Central (340), Wheaton Warrenville South (348), and Prairie Ridge (351) were the three advancing teams out of the sectional.
Neuqua Valley freshman phenom Jessica Yuen was the top qualifying individual with a 75, winning a playoff with Rockford Boylan senior Melissa VanSistine.
Batavia and Geneva each sent a pair of golfers to the sectional, but none qualified for state. Batavia sophomore Lauren Anderson had the best score among the quartet with a 95.