BARRINGTON – Local golfers bounced back Thursday after a rough start to the 44th Illinois State Junior Amateur Championship to post some solid rounds on the challenging Makray Memorial Golf Club course.
Leading the way for the local contingent was Matt Yonkovich of Sugar Grove, who will be a senior this fall at Kaneland. He fired a 4-over-par 75 to bring his total after two rounds of the tournament to 152.
Yonkovich is tied for 21st after two rounds. Some golfers didn’t finish as play was suspended Thursday. Play for the second round will resume at 6 a.m. today while Round 3 is expected to begin at 8:45 a.m.
Yonkovich said his putting worked well for him in the second round.
“Putting was on fire today,” he said. “Drives had a little struggle, got to work on that for tomorrow.”
Back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth holes helped Yonkovich stay even through the first seven holes. A double bogey on No. 8 and a bogey on No. 9 pushed him to 3-over, but he bounced back with a birdie on No. 10.
“It was definitely wet out there, but the greens were still rolling nice,” Yonkovich said.
Yonkovich’s Kaneland teammate, Brody Kuhar of Elburn, carded an 80 for 18 holes, cutting 10 strokes off his first-round score.
“My ball striking was a lot better today,” Kuhar said. “I really wasn’t hitting bad shots [Tuesday], I was just getting bad breaks.”
Some of that no doubt had to do with Kuhar’s lack of familiarity with the course, which he had never played before. He said a couple of other factors make it a tough course for him.
“Its distance for me off the tee and the greens,” he said. “They’re very tough greens and the hazards are everywhere.”
Matt Samuelson of St. Charles also shot an 80 Thursday and also cut 10 strokes off his opening round.
“I played much better than [Tuesday],” said Samuelson, who will be a senior at North. “I hit it pretty good. It’s a tough course, so I was rather happy with an 80.”
The tournament was plagued with weather delays Tuesday and Wednesday’s second round was postponed until Thursday.
Golfers played in ample sunshine most of the day Thursday, but the course was still wet from the recent rains, which left water covering portions of fairways and turned some sand traps into mud traps.
“It’s playing very long,” Samuelson said of the course. “Especially with the wet conditions we’ve had, it’s playing even longer because you don’t really get a roll. The greens are quick, they put the pins in tough spots, and you really get penalized for bad shots.”
Kyle Jacobs of St. Charles also cut 10 strokes off his opening round score by shooting an 81.
After an opening round 89, Liam Creamer of Geneva, who played his prep golf for Marmion, shot a 40 for nine holes Thursday before play was again suspended by a storm.
Barring a spectacular round by Creamer early this morning, Yonkovich will be the only local golfer to make the cut for the final round.
Yonkovich was tied for 21st place, 10 strokes behind tournament leader Brendan O’Reilly of Hinsdale, who was at even par after a blistering 4-under-par 32 over his first nine holes Thursday.