Burlington Central boys golf coach Deb Twenhafel is hoping Matt Weber would command more of a leadership role on the links for his Rockets teammates this season.
The Indiana-bound Weber had his first chance to show his mettle on Monday in the 5-team Crystal Lake South invite hosted by the Golf Club of Illinois in Algonquin, and right out of the gate the senior played the part adequately.
Weber, who missed last season after being ruled ineligible by the IHSA for playing in amateur tournament after the season had begun, shot a 1-under 70 to win first place individually while the Rockets, with an 80 percent chance of losing the tournament to a District 155 school, proved the oddsmakers wrong by taking home first place with a team score of 321.
Andrew Sherman (78), Joey Sherman (86), Austin Neisel (87), Jacob Ledebuhr (87) and Jeremy Crosby (88) followed suit for the Rockets, who were good enough to beat out second place Crystal Lake Central (325) while Cary-Grove (332) placed third. The Trojans were led by Daniel DePrey (77) and Brandon Diblasi (78), who finished third and fifth respectively. Prairie Ridge (343) and CL South (366) rounded out the standings.
"We can play better than this but I will take this for the first tournament," Twenhafel said. "We're very glad to have Matt back of course; he's worked with the boys in the summer. He gives them that extra confidence that they need. They played without him last year and they did well but it just gives them a little extra boost that they need to be confident on the course."
Weber, who birdied Nos. 16 and 18, finished the back nine 2-under after going 1-over on the front nine and felt comfortable off the tee. It was more so evident on the par-3 16th hole, when he put his tee shot right against the green for an easy birdie. A par score still would have won Weber the tournament but his sights were set on a strong finish.
"Wanted to make a few (birdies) coming in, kind of put a good number up there," Weber said. "Even though we didn't score nearly as well as we could have, to come out on top it's a little confidence boost for some of the invites we have as a team coming this next week. It was all around a pretty good day."
Crystal Lake Central's Jordan Schoenfeld placed second with a 3-over-par 74 as the Tigers finished 4 strokes behind BC. DePrey and Diblasi finished in the top 5 individually for Cary-Grove, but besides the fact DePrey struck a wedge from 95 yards out for a 12-foot putt, the Trojans' golfers had a rough first tourney that didn't go along with DePrey's game plan.
"Win. But that didn't work," said DePrey, who double-bogeyed No. 18, which made his back nine score (38) a false indicator of how he actually played the final 9 holes "(My) driver was OK, things could have been better. We play again Wednesday and Saturday so that should be better."
Prairie Ridge's Ethan Farnum shot a 77 to tie DePrey and Brandon Dahl led CL South with an 83.