GENEVA – There were plenty of low scores turned in Tuesday in the first round of the IJGA-CDGA Junior Amateur at Mill Creek Golf Club, but for the most part local golfers struggled to keep pace with their out-of-town competition.
Five boys finished at or below par on the par-71 course. A pair of Chicago golfers – Kyle Donovan and Knox Montgomery – were tied for first at 1-under par.
Justin Prince of Aurora, who will be a senior this fall at Aurora Central Catholic, fired a 74, which has him tied for 17th place. He’s two strokes ahead of Matt Yonkovich of Sugar Grove, who will be a senior at Kaneland.
“I felt good,” Yonkovich said. “I lost a couple balls off the tee, which brought me down a couple strokes. Putting was good again, as always, and I hit a lot of greens and fairways.”
Yonkovich finished his round on a high note, with a birdie on the par-4 18th hole.
“It was good to finish with a birdie,” he said. “It got the weight off my shoulders. I’ll come back tomorrow with a good attitude and have a better score.”
Yonkovich might have to do a little better to make the cut for Friday’s final round. The field will be trimmed to the top 30 golfers plus ties, and Yonkovich is tied for 29th place after the first round.
Another local golfer with a shot at making the cut is Gary King of St. Charles. The junior-to-be at St. Charles East carded a 78.
“I played really well,” King said. “I just lost a couple bad holes – just one or two holes. I played about 16 good holes today.”
King double-bogeyed a pair of par-4 holes – No. 7 and No. 10. His best hole was a birdie 4 on No. 17.
There’s a four-way tie atop the girls’ leaderboard. Selina Zeng, Hanna Netisingha, Kelly Anderson, and Amber Guiao all finished at 77.
“It’s a really nice course,” said Anderson, who will be a junior at Wheaton Warrenville South. “There’s a lot of hills, so you have to play smart. The smarter you play, the lower you go.”
The best local result on the first day was turned in by Kate Lillie of St. Charles. She fired an 82, which has her tied for 15th place.
“I ended up being 1-over on the front and then I got into some trouble on the back, which did not help my score,” Lillie said. “Some putts that should have fallen [didn’t].”
Lillie, just a freshman this fall at St. Charles North, said she’s pleased with how her summer is progressing.
“It’s been going really well,” she said. “I’ve been having some really good tournament scores and I’ve been doing a lot better than last year. … I feel like this summer is probably the best summer that I’ve had.”
Carly Hudon of St. Charles shot an 87 and is tied for 23rd.
Today is the final day of the girls’ competition.