AURORA – The weather was just about perfect, and the results matched for Matt Weber and the Burlington Central boys golf team.
Weber helped the Rockets to their first regional title in program history while also establishing a program best team score Tuesday in the IHSA Class 2A Aurora Central Catholic Regional at Phillips Park Golf Course.
Weber tied his own mark for best 18-hole total in program history, firing a 5-under-par 66 to set the pace in Central’s 295 team score. That was three strokes better than the previous program record, set earlier this season at Mill Creek in Geneva.
“I got word on the 16 tee box of how other guys’ rounds were shaping up, and thoughts were rushing through about breaking the school record and stuff,” Weber said. “It was a lot of fun coming in to make a few birdies and see all the guys there, and celebrate with them.”
Weber played at Phillips Park in an invitational last month, and shot a 72. The Indiana recruit and rural St. Charles resident was much sharper Tuesday, making six birdies and a bogey to go with 11 pars.
Weber said his drives were much more reliable this time.
“You can’t ask for any better weather than this,” Weber said. “Our first at least 13 holes we were playing with just no wind whatsoever. They were as close as you’re going to get here in the Midwest to perfect conditions.”
Rockets junior Austin Niesel carded a 72, while brothers Andrew Sherman (77), a junior, and Joe Sherman (80), a freshman, also helped the Rockets make program history.
Tuesday’s performance solidified to veteran Rockets coach Deb Twenhafel that this is the best team she’s coached in her 26 years.
“I didn’t get a whole lot of sleep last night because I knew we were there,” Twenhafel said. “It was just if we could put it all together with four good scores, and the boys did that today.”
Aurora Central Catholic (298) and Kaneland (310) were the other two teams in the 10-team regional to advance to Monday’s 2A Freeport Sectional.
Kaneland’s depth kept the Knights alive for another week. The Knights tied St. Edward for the third and final advancing spot, and moved on to sectionals instead of the Green Wave based on a fifth-score tiebreaker.
The Knights advanced to the IHSA state tournament as a team last year, and will have the opportunity to make it again via Monday’s Freeport Sectional.
“It means a lot to us,” Kaneland senior Matt Yonkovich said of the team advancement. “It means we’ve got to practice hard this next week. We’ve got to shoot better as a team at sectionals to advance.”
Yonkovich paced Kaneland with a 4-under-par 67. That score, remarkably, was not enough to nab the individual title, but Yonkovich thinks his sparkling round “will stand out quite a bit” to prospective college recruiters.
“Matt’s a really good golfer,” Yonkovich said of Weber. “It’s a little upsetting [not to win with 67], but he did good.”
Brody Kuhar (78), Jeremy Faletto (81) and Jesse Denton and Stephen Cannell (84 each) also came through for Kaneland. St. Ed’s fifth score was 91.
ACC posted four scores in the 70s – Sean Harreld (72), Daniel Miller (73), Justin Prince (74) and Mac Cowan (79).
Wheaton Academy (311 team score) had three players beat the individual qualifying cut of 82 – Grant Gosden (71), Zack Spear (75) and Bobby Teevans (80).
Warriors senior Matt Hamm had an unorthodox start to his round, beginning with a quadruple bogey before rallying with consecutive birdies en route to his eventual 85. Hamm said the birdies helped keep him from being “mopey” after his opening implosion.
Wheaton Academy’s team mark was just one stroke behind Kaneland and St. Ed.
“It’s really disappointing, especially being a senior,” Hamm said. “I really wanted to go out strong, at least make it to sectionals. I knew competition was going to be tough at sectionals but I wanted to get there and kind of give it a go. To lose by a stroke is going to haunt me for a while.”