WEST CHICAGO – The St. Charles North girls golf team’s arrival at Monday’s Upstate Eight Conference tournament was delayed when their bus suffered a flat tire, but there was nothing flat about the North Stars’ play on the St Andrews Golf & Country Club course No. 1.
A 314 team total – a school record for an 18-hole tournament – gave North an easy victory in the conference meet, and the conference championship.
Because of the flat tire, the North Stars didn’t arrive at the course until about 20 minutes before the meet started, but North coach Chris Patrick thought that actually might have helped his team.
“They didn’t have all the pressure of thinking about what was ahead of them,” he said. “It might have been good for them just to get their minds off things.”
Freshman Kate Lillie and senior Carly Hudon each finished with 6-over-par rounds of 77 for North, putting them in a tie for fourth in the individual standings behind Waubonsie Valley junior Bing Singhsumalee, who shot a sizzling 33 on the front nine on her way to a 1-under-par 70.
“I thought I played pretty well,” Lillie said. “I hit the majority of the fairways, which helped me a lot with the approach shots, which on the front nine I hit eight of the nine greens, which was a really big bonus because I’ve never done that before.”
Lillie birdied the 284-yard first hole thanks to a long tee shot, and sank a 20-foot putt on the par-4 sixth hole for another birdie.
“I felt like I stayed in the zone for the whole entire round,” she said. “I really concentrated on what I was doing and just made sure I was taking it one shot at a time.”
Hudon picked up a birdie on the par-5 10th hole even after hitting her drive into the trees.
“It went very well,” she said of her round. “Everything seemed to work. I stayed calm. … My drives really worked today. I think I got some 280-yard drives.”
Senior Jessica Grill added a 79 for the North Stars and freshman Gianna Furrie carded an 81.
Waubonsie Valley placed second in the meet with a team score of 327, followed by Metea Valley at 353.
Geneva placed fourth with a score of 366. Sophomore Kari Kirl and junior Mary Clare Novak each shot 89s for the Vikings.
“It was pretty tough,” Kirl said of the course. “The back nine was harder, but the front nine I pulled through and finished out with a 44.”
Novak thought she could have finished with a score a bit lower.
“I had some putts that were off by like an inch, which is a bummer,” she said. “I did better than I thought I was going to. My score came out a lot better, so I did pretty well.”
Nicole Hassels shot a 91 for Geneva and Allie Henrie added a 97.
Batavia finished seventh in the team standings with a 380 total, led by sophomore Rebecca Hasemann’s 85, a personal best.
“I’m very proud of that today,” Hasemann said. “My dad was encouraging me throughout the entire thing. He was my motivation. It was just fun for him to be there, and he was making me shoot better.”
Senior Lauren Anderson shot a 94 for the Bulldogs and Erin Ewert finished with a 98.
St. Charles East finished eighth in the 10-team field at 389. Senior Darby Crane’s 88 was the top score for the Saints, but she was disappointed with her play.
“My approach shots wouldn’t reach the green, so I’d have to chip on almost every hole,” she said. “And then I’d still two-putt. I was playing bogey golf today.”
Freshman Reagan Stanton fired a 96 for East, which will join North for regional play a week from Wednesday at Prairie Isle Golf Course in Crystal Lake.
“Hopefully, we can carry this over and have some momentum going into regionals and sectionals and hopefully state,” Patrick said.
He said it was encouraging knowing that players like Hudon still have the potential to shoot even lower.
“I feel very good [going into regional play],” Hudon said. “I feel like I got control of my game, finally. We found one little flaw [in my swing] the other week and I think it’s really coming around now.”
Singhsumalee won Player of the Year honors in the conference after winning a one-hole playoff with Neuqua Valley sophomore Jessica Yuen.