NAPERVILLE – More than 100 golfers assembled at Cress Creek Country Club for its annual Illinois Junior Golf Association tournament Monday, but there was one golfer missing.
John Jarvis was a perennial golf champion at Cress Creek. He was on the board of directors at the IJGA, as well as a member at the country club. He grew up around the game and eventually passed down his knowledge to his son, Jeff. John’s life would come to an abrupt end, however, when cancer took his life at age 51.
For the 19 years since, his family and Cress Creek combined with the IJGA to put on the Jarvis Memorial Open.
“The year after he died, people here just pulled together and said, ‘Let’s do something good for junior golf and the next generation of golfers,’ ” John’s wife, Barbara, said.
The event has the green fees paid for in advance, so players only have to front the cost of registering with the IJGA.
“After he passed away, there was still a lot of energy to keep his legacy around,” Jeff Jarvis, John’s son, added. “It’s neat for them to play at a private club that is maintained so well. It’s a special day.”
Scott Mueller of New Lenox ran away with the senior boys tournament at 2-over par, thanks to an incredible front nine that produced three birdies and no bogeys. After opening on the back nine, Mueller went into the turn with a run of bogey, double bogey and bogey on holes 16 to 18 before going bogey-free on the next nine holes.
Geneva’s Mac Feehan was one of nine players under the 80-stroke barrier among the 68 players in the 16- to 18-year-old boy’s tournament. He shot 79 and tied for seventh.
Other area players struggled with the course’s layout with its blind shots and its variety of sand traps. Andrew Nelson from Batavia fired an 85 and finished tied for 26th, while St. Charles resident Hank Zimmer finished 36th.
“There’s a lot of bunkers here,” Nelson said. “They’re definitely tough and it causes a lot of difficulty on the course.”
While players dealt with the course’s challenges, no one could catch Mueller and his sizzling play on the front nine.
“You have to have great shots consistently,” Zimmer said of Mueller’s play. “That’s really impressive.”
On the girls side of play, 15-year-old Rainstar Roque from West Chicago was equally impressive with a 1-over 73. Roque had three bogeys and two birdies on the day.
In the junior boys tournament, Tyler Barton from Elburn finished in a tie for eighth place with an 84. His score was 11 shots behind the tournament’s winner, Austin Freeman, who shot a 1-over 73 on the day.
Watching the young golfers play the course reminded Jeff of his own kids, now ages 7 and 9, who are already involved in golf. The two already talk about the opportunity to try and win their grandfather’s tournament when they get old enough.
“They never got to meet their grandpa,” Jeff said. “In some ways, this is their experience with their grandpa.”