Ariana Furrie and Jessica Yuen could not decide matters in regulation.
The St. Charles North senior and Neuqua Valley freshman entered the Upstate Eight Conference girls golf championship deadlocked for league MVP honors.
After 18 holes at St. Andrews Golf and Country Club Monday afternoon in West Chicago, the duo were still tied after each finished with a 2-over 73.
Two more playoff holes could only heighten the drama, which finally came to an end when Furrie stiffed her tee shot on the par-3 third hole to two feet.
When Yuen could not answer with her 15-foot birdie effort, Furrie claimed her second career conference championship and first MVP award with her tap-in birdie.
“(Yuen) was making a lot of putts (during regulation), so I figured she was going low,” Furrie said. “I hit (my tee shot on No. 3) perfectly.”
The two went toe-to-toe all day under trying conditions exacerbated by questionable pin positions on such undulating greens, St. Andrews’ well-documented last line of defense.
Furrie birdied all three par-5s as part of her 5-birdie performance, while Yuen had 4 of her 5 birdies after the seventh hole.
Three-putts deprived each player of an under-par day, but Furrie prevailed after Yuen had a short miss for par at No. 18 to force the extra holes.
“I just pulled it badly,” Yuen said. “I wasn’t expecting to miss that putt. I knew (Furrie) was going to make that putt (for birdie on third playoff hole), so I tried my best to make (my putt to extend the playoff).”
Yuen was impressive nevertheless all day, defying her age and physical frame with blistering tee shots and quality iron play.
“My swing has really improved since last year,” Yuen said.
In the team race, the Furrie gem enabled St. Charles North — additionally emboldened by the play of all-conference selections Jessica Grill and Jordyn McFarlane — to avenge a regular-season loss to Waubonsie Valley, 337-344.
But the North Stars needed the Warriors to finish third or worse to claim the outright title; when sister school Metea Valley fell 2 shots shy of Waubonsie Valley for runner-up status, the Warriors’ unblemished dual-meet record allowed the defending team champion to prevail once again.
Waubonsie Valley had three quality scores from Bing Singhsumalee, fourth overall with a 77, Courtney Williams (83) and Rebecca O’Bryan (84).
“It always comes down to that fourth score (for the team champion),” Waubonsie Valley coach Jack Farnum said after having to take a 100 for the last score. “Those (first three) girls aren’t happy with their scores; they left a lot of shots out on the course.”
“It was very tough out there,” Singhsumalee said of the swirling winds and exceptionally fast greens. “I made so many 3-putts, and it was really annoying because I was striking the ball so well.”
Niquole Mangel and Anna Petersen completed all-conference campaigns for Metea Valley with their respective rounds of 77 and 83.
Neuqua Valley was fourth at 356; eighth-place Lake Park had Allison Phelus’ low team round highlight its day.
The North Stars’ 2-shot loss to St. Charles East last week ending up costing the squad the overall title.
But St. Charles North is primed for a postseason run behind the likes of Furrie, McFarlane and Grill.
“It was a great way for Ariana to close out her regular season,” St. Charles North coach Chris Patrick said. “We felt like the (Class AA Burlington Central sectional complex) draw was good for us.”
“I had really good chips,” Grill said of her short-game play. “As long as I could get my second shot close the green, I knew I could get a good score.”
For St. Charles East senior returning state qualifier Paige Jordan, the bedeviling putting conditions derailed an otherwise superlative ball-striking round.
“I don’t know what’s up with my putting,” Jordan said after carding a 79 to earn all-conference status for a third straight year. “I had more putts than I had actual strokes. (My score) should have been in the mid to low 70s.”
Darby Crane, Jane Noelker and Courtney Laird all had rounds in the 90s for the Saints.
The late Anna Daley was posthumously awarded an honorable all-conference medal for St. Charles East.
Megan Kelly was the low man for Geneva; Lauren Anderson performed a similar feat for Batavia.
Alison Smith leapfrogged from special mention all-conference to the real thing with her 84 for the Elgin-Larkin co-op.
“I didn’t find (the pin positions) to be too bad,” the Larkin senior said. “I thought I played pretty consistent. I left my approaches in some good places to the greens. I was happy with how (my score) turned out.”
“I was pretty confident (Smith would make all-conference) coming in,” Larkin coach Amy Silverman said. “I don’t think she feels like she has to carry the team. She has put in a lot of work in the off-season.”
Larkin finished in seventh place with its 426 total.
Denise Lorenz, Jordan Dick and Kendall Hennig — all from Larkin — completed the Royals’ scorecard.
Kristi Struck paced the South Elgin-Bartlett-Streamwood combined team.
“The greens were so fast today,” the South Elgin junior said. “The course is hard in general.”
South Elgin juniors Katie Kirkby and Megan Slowik had counting scores, while Bartlett junior Rachel Iacopetti also contributed.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.