NORMAL – Like teammate, friend and neighbor.
In the case of Kaneland freshman golfer Ryan Milton, that’s the best way to sum up his first season on the Knights’ varsity team.
Two years ago, Will Marshall, now a junior on Kaneland’s golf team, placed fourth at the Class 2A state meet. Milton didn’t match his teammate at the 2A state meet this past weekend, but shot a respectable two-round total of 149 to tie for 18th place at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal. Marshall, in his first return to state since his freshman year, carded a 74 on Oct. 14 to end with a 145 to snare a fifth-place medal.
Considering Marshall and Milton are neighbors, and according to Kaneland coach Mark Meyer have played countless rounds together, it bodes well for Kaneland’s team next year.
“They have played together as number one and number two all year, so Will has been a good mentor for Ryan during the season and was very encouraging for him at the state tournament,” Meyer said. “He gave him a lot of good advice throughout the year.
“They live right across from each other, and they see each other all the time and have an awesome friendship and are good teammates. It was exciting to seet hem play the state tournament together and enjoy their experience.”
After missing state last year, Marshall acknowledged he’d been gearing for a return to the Illinois State campus in mid-October since the end of last season. He shot a 70 to win the medalist honors at the Burlington Central Regional, and notched a 75 at the Grayslake Central Sectional.
Marshall stood eight shots back of eventual state champion Tommy Kuhl of Morton following the first round on Oct. 13. Marshall shot a 35 on the back nine Oct. 14 to close the final round out with a 74. Marshall called his return to state even more special since Milton made the cut. Milton had a birdie on No. 16 and No. 18 sandwiched by a par on No. 17 on Oct. 14.
“Last year I unfortunately missed the cut,” Marshall said. “This year it was a driving aspect for my game. It was pretty special going to state with my teammate. It was disappointing that the team couldn’t make it down to state, but it was a great experience to experience it with my neighbor and teammate. It was a solid experience.”
“I felt Ryan raised his standards and performed well. He has a great swing and putting stroke and you put all that together into a few rounds, you will have some good scores. For Ryan, he’s just going to put his feet into the water see what’s it’s like. It was really special for him to be able to make the cut and go down there as a freshman.”
Marshall, who had four birdies and eight pars in the final round, would like to add a few more teammates to join him at state next season.
“I think we will have a solid team next year, with a lot of seniors,” he said. “It’s special to go down there with your friend, but if you have a whole bunch of your friends, it will be a blast.”