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St. Charles North girls golf freshman Lillie excels at Chick Evans Amateur

ITASCA – Most local golfers left Itasca Country Club on Monday a bit disappointed with their performances in the first round of the IJGA Chick Evans Junior Amateur tournament, but Katie Lillie of St. Charles was an exception.

Lillie, a St. Charles North freshman, was all smiles after shooting a 79 over 18 holes.

“I was driving it well and I was able to get my second shots on the green consistently,” she said. “And when I got off the green I was able to make up-and-downs fairly easily.”

Lillie never had played the course until this week.

“I played it yesterday in a practice round, but this is my first time playing it in a tournament.” she noted. “I think it’s a really nice course. The greens are really nice and it was in really nice condition. There are a lot of trees.”

Lillie is tied for 10th place going into today’s second round.

After today, the field will be trimmed to 16 golfers for match play competition that will determine the eventual tournament champion.

Jessica Yuen of Bolingbrook was the first-round leader in the girls competition after firing a 2-under-par 70. She’s two strokes in front of 12-year-old sensation Lauren Beaudreau of Lemont.

Ariana Furrie of St. Charles was tied for 15th after a first round 81. The recent St. Charles North graduate started the day well with an even-par 36 on the front nine, but she was 9-over par on the back nine.

“I don’t want to make up any excuses,” Furrie said. “My game was just not the same as the front nine.”

Furrie said her irons deserted her on the back nine.

“I either was missing greens or hitting them kind of sideways,” she said. “I was on a lot of greens on the front and my putting was better.”

Last year about this time, Furrie was deciding she wasn’t going to play college golf. She reversed that decision and decided to compete for Wagner College, an NCAA Division I institution on Staten Island, N.Y.

“It was after the [high school] season, I talked to the coach after I decided I wasn’t playing,” Furrie recalled. “He was like, ‘You should come check it out.’ … I went out and looked at it. It seemed cool.”

Kenneth Li of Westmont blistered the course for a 5-under-par 67 to take the lead in the boys’ division after the first round. He’s three strokes ahead of a pair of Hinsdale golfers, Brendan O’Reilly and David Whinery.

Aurora Central Catholic senior Justin Prince carded a 76, putting him in a tie for 31st. The top 32 golfers on the boys side after today’s second round will advance to match play.

“I played pretty good until the last two holes, where I double-bogeyed both of them,” Prince said. “I had four birdies. I putted really good today, made a couple 30-footers, just didn’t hit my drives real well.

Connor McCadam of St. Charles is tied for 67th place in the 154-player field after firing a 79.

“I had two double bogeys out there and I didn’t roll a lot of long putts in,” McAdam said. “I hit the ball well. I’m excited for tomorrow – make some putts.”

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