Batavia leaves no doubt
Accustomed to playing the front nine at Fox Valley Golf Club for its dual matches, Batavia simply turned it up a notch against archrival Geneva.
The Bulldogs' boys golf team, with senior Nathan Podraza carding a sizzling 3-under par round, was on a different level in cruising to a 142-155 Upstate Eight Conference River Division victory over Geneva on the inward nine of the North Aurora layout.
"I don't remember ever being under par (as a team)," Batavia coach Tim DeBruycker said after the Bulldogs ended the Vikings' season-long winning streak to improve to 3-0 in the league. "It's nice to see our depth come through."
Podraza, who began the season as the Bulldogs' top gun, had slipped to the third slot in recent weeks.
But the four-year varsity member dropped his only shot of the day on his second hole after making birdie at the first (the 10th hole).
Podraza promptly restored his red-number day with another birdie on his third hole and ended his career-tying, nine-hole score with back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18.
Facing a 20-footer for par at the devilishly difficult par-4 13th, Podraza snaked home the putt to maintain his momentum.
"I drained a lot of putts (Monday in a scramble), and it gave me a lot of confidence," Podraza said after his scintillating 33 on Tuesday in perfect scoring conditions. "A lot of holes out here you can hit your drive (on par-4s) and be right next to the green. My (putting) stroke felt good today."
Podraza also had plenty of help from his teammates.
Peter Rudd, playing with Podraza, had a topsy-turvy start.
"I went birdie-bogey, birdie-bogey, birdie-bogey," Rudd said. "Then, I parred out from there."
For Rudd, the highlight of his trio of pars, birdies and bogeys for an even round of 36 came at the 14th hole.
Faced with a daunting chip from the back of the green, Rudd drained the pitch for one of his 3 birdies on the day.
"I didn't have much green to work with," Rudd said. "It would probably have been 10 or 15 feet past the pin."
But the ball struck the flagstick and dropped straight down.
Billy Zwick, playing as the seventh man for Batavia, then rounded out the Bulldogs' scoring as the senior — with classmate Danny Ritchason already posting a 1-over 37 — recorded the first level-par performance of his dual career with another 36.
Taylor Brandt, who was back-to-back medalists for Batavia in its first two conference wins, had his score of 39 thrown out.
Colin Lillibridge played his final seven holes in level par after back-to-back bogeys to start his day.
"I didn't give myself many birdie chances," said Lillibridge, who finished with a 38 to lead four Geneva players under 40. "You need to be better than 38 today (to compete with Batavia)."
Pat Cuscaden, Danny Cisco and Alex Schreiber all fired 39s for Geneva (5-1, 3-1).
"In high school golf you have to protect your home turf," Geneva coach Bill Koehn said. "We knew coming in this would be a very difficult match to win."
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