GENEVA – It could be argued that the Tri-Cities golfers competing in this week’s IJGA-CDGA Junior Amateur at Mill Creek Golf Club had a distinct advantage: familiarity with a local course.
But the edge of playing in Geneva didn’t prove to be helpful at all when it came to the scores posted in the tournament’s second day Thursday, as no area golfers made the cut for today’s final round.
Some of that can be chalked up to the fact that these golfers are familiar with just how hazardous a course this is, too.
“The conditions were nice, but the course was playing a little tricky today,” Batavia sophomore Nicholas Robinson said. “There’s a lot of water out there. And if you lose a lot of balls in the hazards and out of bounds it gets kind of tough. I thought it was nice. I like the course, I like the environment, I like how the IJGA does this with Mill Creek, and I like the competition.”
The sizable contingent of Geneva golfers are especially knowledgeable when it comes to Mill Creek, a course that serves as their home base during the high school season. In fact, more than one said they live right nearby or even on the golf course. But that didn’t necessarily help with their scores Thursday.
“It probably makes it harder because I expect to do good and sometimes I don’t,” Geneva junior Matthew Fisher said.
Still, the Vikings golfers enjoyed being around each other – many will be teammates when the season starts – and they’re looking forward to what they say will be a promising year.
“I think we’re going to be pretty good,” senior Danny Cisco said. “We’ve got four returning seniors, and we were all top six last year. So I think we could be contending at state.”
While the Vikings are looking ahead to the upcoming season, some of the local golfers were looking several seasons into the future.
St. Charles East senior Brad Riva played alongside fellow Saints freshman J.B. Sandlund.
Riva instantly took on the task of mentoring the younger golfer, instructing him on the mental side of the game and giving pointers as their round progressed.
“It was fun. I tried to mentor him a little bit,” Riva said. “He’s got to play a little smarter on some holes, but we had a lot of fun out there.”
“It was great,” Sandlund said. “I actually did play a lot better on some holes because of his mentoring. I thought it was pretty fun once I got it going.”
Riva seems to enjoy being a teacher, all part of continuing the tradition of Saints golf.
“We’ve got to keep the Saints rolling here,” Riva said. “We’ve got to have a good team the next couple years. We should be good this year. Hopefully we get down to state, and hopefully this team gets down to state.”
Matt Yonkovich of Sugar Grove turned in the day’s top area score, finishing with a two-day tally of 154, 12 over par. Riva and Fisher were next at 160.
The cut was 9-over par. Robert Renner of Lake Barrington holds the lead with a 1-over 143.
Area girls had an equally tricky time Thursday, the final day of the tournament in the girls’ division. The best area finisher was St. Charles North freshman Kate Lillie, who tied for seventh place with a two-day score of 159, seven over par.
Fellow North Star, senior Carly Hudon finished with a 170, while a pair of Geneva sophomores – Kari Kirl and Reilly Krohe – finished with scores of 196 and 222, respectively.