NORMAL – Will Marshall was no stranger to the state golf tournament when he arrived this weekend.
What he saw Friday, though, was quite the unfamiliar sight.
A light rain as the Kaneland senior made the turn quickly worsened to a heavy snowfall. Snow caked the ground.
"The snow was collecting so heavily," Marshall said, "that when you would roll your putt on the green the ball would collect snow like a snowball. There would be a ring of snow, and it would topple over."
It was indeed an interesting weekend for all golfers concerned.
The first round was suspended mid-Friday afternoon because of the snow, and ultimately canceled. Saturday became a winner-take-all 18-hole round, where Marshall shot a 3-over par 74 to tie for fifth individually in the Class 2A finals at Illinois State's Weibring Golf Club.
Marshall, a three-time state qualifier and Nebraska recruit, matched his finish from his junior year.
"Obviously I didn't have my best stuff that day," Marshall said. "I was hoping to get something under par. I found it extremely difficult to gauge the distances with the wind."
Marshall paced Kaneland's team, which finished seventh in the team standings with a combined 37-over par score of 321. Freshman Cody Ganzon shot an 80, junior Bryce Stair an 82 and sophomore Ryan Milton an 85.
Charleston, at 28-over, won the team title with Bloomington sophomore TJ Barger the individual champion with a 3-under 68.
Despite being forced to wear three or four layers of clothing and handwarmers, Marshall enjoyed the experience with his teammates.
"We knew that whenever there is an 18-hole tournament anything can happen; in a short time span, anybody can get hot," Marshall said. "It's more of a gamble, but we prepared ourselves well."
Marshall birdied two of the par 4s on the front, but admittedly struggled to give himself birdie chances most of the round. After a double bogey on a par 3, he did hit a high wedge on No. 17 to the pin that set himself up for a tap-in for birdie.
"I pride myself being accurate with my distance control and my wedge game; the other players just adapted better to the weather, I guess," Marshall said. "Unfortunately I didn't put enough shots close to make birdies. It was difficult to chip, and my hands were getting cold. It's easily the worst conditions I've played in, but that's what you get yourself into."
The company was the best part.
"Me and Ryan went down there last year, and it's obviously fun to be down there," Marshall said, "but just to have the whole team down there, and not even just the guys playing but the rest of the guys was great. We even had an alumni, Rhett Espe and one of our past players, Brock Williams, he's going to be a PGA pro, there. It was an unbelievable experience."