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updated: 8/13/2012 9:33 PM

Walsh name remains a winner

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When we last left the high school girls golf scene, Prospect's Allison Walsh was being crowned the 2011 IHSA Class AA state champion.

On the first day of the 2012 season, Allison's little sister Kiley made sure the Walsh name was still in the headlines.

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Despite playing in relentless showers Monday at the Fox Run Golf Course in Elk Grove, Kiley Walsh fired a 3-over par 73 to claim top honors in Conant's Early Bird Invite while helping the defending state champion Knights to the low score of 311.

Prospect finished well ahead of runner-up Fremd (330), Prairie Ridge (335), Glenbrook North (352) and Buffalo Grove (353).

The four-time defending Mid-Suburban League champs showed they have depth again this season, landing four girls in the top five.

Noreen Caporusso was second with a 76 while substitute Kacie O'Donnell, a sophomore making her varsity debut, took fourth (78) and Ally Scaccia (79) fifth.

The only non-Knight to crack the top five was defending Early Bird champ Grace Kil, who shot a 77 with a pair of birdies.

"This is a great start for the girls," said Jim Hamann, the coach who led Prospect to the school's first state title in a girls sport. "What was really cool was they were just as excited about Kacie breaking 80 as they were about winning the tournament."

Walsh won the individual crown with 11 pars and 2 birdies over the slippery 5,288 yards of turf.

"The rain really didn't affect me that much," said Walsh, who tied for 29th in the 2011 state meet. "I actually had five towels with me. I had to wrap my putter grip in one every time I went to the green."

Walsh was sharp with her short iron game, registering multiple up-and-downs from within 50 yards of the green.

"Any time I'm in the low 70s, I'm happy," said the junior, who also plays basketball and badminton. "It felt really good to be back playing last May (after badminton season).

"For our team, knowing what we did last season is in the back of our minds, especially myself feeling like I have big shoes to fill with my sister (Allison is now at Bradley). But I like going out there and having to work for something and having goals."

Walsh added that it was great to see O'Donnell's performance, which consisted of 10 pars.

Caporusso finished with 12 pars and a birdie while Scaccia had 2 birdies and 8 pars.

"You just had to concentrate on your game and keep your grips dry," Scaccia said. "Winning the state tournament gives us more confidence. But we don't want to be overconfident because of it. We are just proud of it and want to keep working hard."

Since O'Donnell was a substitute, the Knights' fourth score was produced by senior Noelle Johnston (83).

Fremd's runner-up effort was led by senior Angie Kim (80), junior Dorothy Feng (80), junior Jennifer Kim (83) and Katie Hur, a freshman who shot an 87 in her varsity debut.

Angie Kim, the 2012 Illinois Junior Girls Golf Senior Girls Player of the Year with 5 tourney wins from 14 appearances, recorded 9 pars in the first outing of her high school season.

"Toward the end of my round I started getting a little tired," she said. "And I didn't keep my focus. But I'm happy with an 80 any day, especially in these conditions.

"It was a very good start to our season, especially playing in the rain," added Angie Kim, who tied for 23rd in the state meet last year. "And our freshman (Hur) started out really well with her 87."

Angie Kim and Feng tied for sixth with their 80s.

Other area girls who made the top 25 were Conant's Jackie Halden (82, tied for 10th), Fremd's Jennifer Kim (tied for 13th), Prospect's Johnston (13th), Prospect's Isabella Flack (84, tied for 16th), Elk Grove's Katie DeMeulenaere (85, 18th), Prospect substitute Frankie Corrado (86, tied for 19th), Fremd's Hur (tied for 21st), Prospect's Emma Menich (87, tied for 21st), Buffalo Grove's Amber Guiao (88, tied fro 23rd), Conant's Carla Bryeans (89, tied for 25th) and Prospect substitute Jenny Geraghty (89 (tied for 25th).

Prospect's score of 311 was 23 strokes better than its winning 334 total at last year's Early Bird.

"Our girls deserved to start out strong," said Hamann, who used 8 substitutes in the 16-team tourney. "We have great kids on this team. They showed the type of positive energy we have going here and I think that will lead to more good things."

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