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St. Charles East, North boys golf programs team up for bragging rights

GENEVA – Bill Koehn didn’t go out a winner Monday in his final McChesney Cup as Geneva’s boys golf coach, but this unusual high school golfing event never has been about winning and losing.

Koehn, who is retiring after coaching the Vikings for 30 seasons, got together with the other Tri-Cities boys golf coaches seven years ago to start the event, which pits the two St. Charles schools against a combined Batavia-Geneva squad in a Ryder Cup-style format.

The idea was to build some camaraderie between kids from schools that are normally archrivals in sporting competitions.

“I would love to see it continue,” Koehn said. “I think it’s great for the relationships of the kids. Us four coaches have known each other for a long, long time. It’s just a fun thing for us to get here and watch the kids interact.”

The season-opening event always has been held at the Geneva Golf Club, a fact that worked in favor of St. Charles East senior Connor McCadam.

“This is my third year playing [this event],” he said. “I know this course pretty well by now.”

McCadam won all three matches he took part to help the Saints and North Stars defeat the Bulldogs and Vikings, 185-175.  

He first teamed with North senior Ben Connor to win a best-ball match against Batavia’s Jacob Piechota and Geneva’s Dan Cisco.

McCadam and Connor also prevailed in an alternate shot competition against Cisco and Nick Bleidorn, and McCadam downed Matt Fisher of Geneva in a singles match, 6-3.

“My driver was really working for me,” McCadam said. “I was just putting it in the fairway and then I hit some greens. I chipped in for birdie to win in the first round, so that was nice.”

After the best-ball and alternate-shot matches, East and North held a point lead. They got a big boost in the singles matches from the North Stars’ Matt Samuelson, who won seven of nine holes and split another.

“I made putts when I needed to,” Samuelson said. “I didn’t hit the ball the best, but I ended up scoring pretty well. Unfortunately, the kid I was playing didn’t play his best and I was able to take advantage of that.”

A bright spot for the Batavia and Geneva squad was the play of Bulldogs’ sophomore Blake Lawrence, who was on the winning side in two matches and split another.

“I wasn’t driving the ball too good, but I was making a lot of putts,” Lawrence said, “halving holes when they needed to be halved and winning when they needed to be won.”

Lawrence was playing in the event for the first time, but if he has his way, it won’t be the last.

“I like it,” he said. “It’s good watching the Ryder Cup and then coming out here and playing just like the Ryder Cup.”

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