WW South shoots 4-under to win Geneva invite
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Wheaton Warrenville South had to alter its boys golf schedule when the annual Larkin Invitational was canceled due to a new IHSA bylaw regarding school day events.
The Tigers turned their attention to Geneva instead and were rewarded in grand fashion on Thursday evening as the squad, taking advantage of near-perfect conditions, fired a collective 296 to win the 21-school event at Mill Creek Golf Course.
Burlington Central, whose star senior Matt Weber moved to 10-under par for the season with his third consecutive medalist performance, was second with a program-record 298.
Marmion, the defending champion, also broke 300 by a shot to place third, while Glenbard South was fourth at an even 300.
Tommy Dale paced WW South from his sixth spot with a 1-over-par 72; senior leader Will Kelly was a shot behind his teammate to anchor the Tigers' day.
"My mental game was really in the right spot," said Dale, who fired back-to-back 36s in the shotgun start. "I would make a bogey and come back with a couple of birdies. I was just rolling all day."
Brian McCaffrey added a third solid score for WW South with a 74.
Glenbard South, a reigning Class 2A team participant at the state tournament, was led by Russell Matos' third-place 70.
Christopher Dufort solidified the Raiders' best showing at the tournament in recent memory with a 73.
Marmion broke 300 for the second consecutive year in forging its third-place result.
Joe Fritz had an exceptional day to propel the Cadets' cause, shooting a career-low 69, one shot from a potential playoff against Weber.
Fritz attributed his strong play to an element inescapable to success in the sport.
"I was finding the fairway consistently, finding the greens in regulation," the Naperville resident said. "I was burning the edges with my putter. I finally found a couple to drop at the end."
Fritz was level through his first 16 holes before making the last of his 3 birdies at 7 and 8 to conclude his round.
St. Charles North senior Raghav Cherula, the two-time reigning Upstate Eight Conference River division player of the year, was in a customary spot: the North Stars' low man with a 73.
Veteran coach Rob Prentiss was not surprised by the overall play.
"A lot of teams are familiar with the golf course," Prentiss said. "I'm not surprised (by the scores) at all."
Alex Schreiber had a 75 to post the host Geneva.
"I saw an awful lot of putts on the stats' cards," Geneva coach Bill Koehn said. "We have to work on that."
But Aurora Central Catholic had a round of the ages as Sean Herrald led four players in the 70s for the Chargers, who were eighth with a 308.
"The best (team score) since I have been here — nine years," ACC coach Jim Parker said. "I am extremely pleased."
Kaneland was led by Matt Voinovich (74), and Batavia was paced by the twin 78s from Nick Bliedorn and Jacob Piechota.
Weber has traversed the emotional landscape in the last year for Burlington Central.
The IHSA disqualified him from further competition midway through the season last year after playing during an in-season tournament in West Virginia.
"It was very unfortunate," said Weber, who had 6 birdies to offset 3 miscues in his round of 68. "It wasn't fun to be kicked out. The airfare and hotels were prepaid. It was either throw away $2,000 or withdraw from the tournament. (My family) gave the IHSA plenty of notice (for an exemption)."
But it was a distant memory for the Rockets' senior standout.
Weber captured tournaments earlier this week at Crystal Lake Central and Glenbard North with combined scores of 7-under par.
The Rockets' first-ever score under 300 was accomplished with the help of Austin Niesel, Andrew Sherman and Joe Sherman with respective rounds of 74, 77 and 79.
"(The return of Weber) has given the boys the confidence they need," Central coach Deb Twenhafel said. "I am so pleased to have him back."
"We knew coming in the course was very scoreable," Weber said. "(The final total) wasn't a big surprise."
South Elgin was more than respectable at 313; Devin Meredith led the Storm with a 73.
Dan Lenz was the leader for Larkin with a 78, while Bartlett, Larkin and Elgin finished near the bottom.
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