She is only a 14-year-old freshman but Barrington's Julia Calbi is making this postseason look as easy as a 2-foot putt.
After winning the Mid-Suburban League championship with an even-par 71, then taking the regional title with a 3-under 70, Calbi struck for a 4-under 70 to claim the top medal at Monday's Class AA Buffalo Grove girls golf sectional.
Speaking of easy, Highland Park was a comfortable team champion, building a nice cushion (149) after nine holes and finishing at 305, ahead of MSL champion Prospect (319) and third-place finisher Fremd (324) at the Buffalo Grove Golf Course.
Those three teams advance to this weekend's Class AA state finals at Hickory Point Golf Course on Friday in Decatur.
Barrington missed a state qualifying spot by 5 strokes, finishing in fourth with a 329.
Not far behind Calbi was her sophomore teammate Heather Ciskowki, who returned to the clubhouse with a 2-under par 72 that tied for second with Buffalo Grove junior Grace Kil.
Other area individual medalists were Hampshire senior Connie Ellett (74), Prospect senior Allison Walsh (75) and Fremd junior Angie Kim (75), who finished in a five-way tie for seventh.
Stevenson's Stephanie Miller, the Class AA defending state champ, shot a 76 and St. Viator sophomore Dana Gattone recorded a 77 to advance among the top 10 individuals who were not on a qualifying team.
"Everyone went low with their scores," said Miller, who had 3 birdies and 6 bogeys. "I knew Grace (Kil) would tear it up on her home course and Julia was wonderful."
Calbi's round included some superb putting on the way to 4 birdies and 14 pars. She hit 16 greens in regulation.
"At the beginning, I was striking the ball just OK," said Calbi, who started her back nine with an up-and-down birdie on the par-5 No. 10. "But then I started hitting greens and making putts."
If a few eagle putts would have fallen for Ciskowski, she might have matched her teammate's score.
"I was giving myself chances for eagles on the par-5s, so that was good," said Ciskowski (6 birdies, 3 bogeys), who a year ago was headed to the state finals in girls tennis as a freshman. "I didn't make them so that's something to work on. It's very exciting to have the chance to play in the state finals."
Calbi's and Ciskowski's scores gave Barrington its lowest two-player total in a sectional under Hall of Fame coach Jodi Schoeck.
"It's a great first chapter for them," Schoeck said. "They have been such strong players all season. They just went out and forged ahead on every hole."
Calbi, whose personal best score is a 68 at Bonnie Dundee, was playing in the same group with Kil, who was playing on her home course.
Kil had 5 birdies but 36 putts did not help her game.
"I guess my irons were pretty accurate," said the three-time state qualifier. "It helps playing on your own course."
Prospect (fourth in the 2010 Class AA state tourney) advanced to the state finals for the second straight year under coach Jim Hamann.
Following Walsh's round of 75 (37-38) that included 4 birdies, were teammates Kiley Walsh (41-40 81), Noreen Caporusso (41-40 81) and Christine Garmoe (41-41 82).
"My irons were good again," Allison Walsh said. "I'm happy with how our team did considering this was an off day for us, and there were a lot of great teams and players here.
"We did what we had to do to get downstate. So we'll see what happens. Hopefully, it's good things to come."
Hamann said the Knights will take the next three days to work things out.
"Then we'll go attack Hickory Point," he said. "This was a very tough field. A lot of teams played well. Allison played fantastic all day. She was determined to play well and hit the ball extremely well."
Prospect was coming off a school-record 308 to win its regional.
"To have an off day and still shoot 319 says a lot about the character of these kids," Hamann said. "I'm very proud of these girls. They fought it. We will play well downstate. These kids can't wait to get there."
Fremd will be going there for the first time since 2002.
Fourth-year coach Christine Vlaming watched her girls post their best score of the season, led by junior Angie Kim (75), senior Christiana Kim (81), senior Payton McAbee (83) and sophomore Jennifer Kim (85). Senior Madison Zyer (86) fired a 38 on the front nine.
"It's exciting to make it downstate," Zyer said. "It's great to see all out work in practice has paid off."
"This is what we've been working for all season," said Angie Kim, who posted the best score of her career. "We've been working so hard for this day."
McAbee also fired her personal-best round while Christiana Kim recorded her best this season.
"We always talked to the girls about believing in their games," Vlaming said. "This was a total team effort with everyone one through six contributing to make it happen. We told the girls 'Why not us?'"
Two-time state qualifier Gattone shot a 77 in the sectional for the second straight season.
"This was a really tough sectional," said the St. Viator sophomore who birdied the par-3 No. 14 hole. "My all-around game was pretty solid. I had a lot of confidence in my short game, especially my putting (four 1-putts)."
Ellett will be making her third straight appearance in the state finals.
The Hampshire senior, coming off a career-best score of 70 in the regional last week, recorded 3 birdies in her even-par round on Monday.
"I was really consistent," said Ellett, who was playing her first high school meet at the Buffalo Grove Golf Course. "I never really got in trouble. I had a couple of 3-putts but they weren't bad ones."