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updated: 9/7/2013 9:25 PM

Hinsdale Central dominates Batavia invite

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

The Batavia Invitational has invariably served as a time-honored appetizer to the local large-school boys golf sectional in recent years.

Less than a year after the Class 3A St. Charles East sectional produced the three trophy-winning teams at the state finals -- Hinsdale Central, Naperville North and Lyons Township -- met at Fox Valley Golf Club in North Aurora on Saturday for the tournament.

But it was the West Suburban Silver, with all but Proviso West in attendance, which dominated the 27-team field.

Defending state champion Hinsdale Central, with Kenneth Li torching the par-72 layout with 8 birdies, was collectively under par with a 286 to defeat Lyons and Oak Park-River Forest handily.

Wheaton Warrenville South was fourth behind three solid scores, and Marmion edged Benet for fifth place.

Li had no putts among his 8 birdies from beyond five feet as the sophomore reduced the reachable par-5s and drivable par-4s at Fox Valley to its knees.

"I was just two-putting for birdies all day," said Li, who had nine-hole composite scores of 32 and 33 to tie the tournament record with his 7-under 65. "This team has a lot of depth. All of us lean on each other."

Hinsdale Central freshman wunderkind Brendan O'Reilly, who captured the State Amateur championship last summer, was runner-up with a 68.

Will Kelly overcame a sluggish start to shoot one of two 75s for WW South.

"I had two doubles on my first six holes," the junior said. "I just grinded it out from there. I birdied my last two holes (Nos. 3 and 4 in the shotgun start)."

The Tigers, who finished with a four-man score of 307, also received a 75 from Will Denman; Sean McCaffrey fired a 77 for WW South.

"There's always a lot of competition in this part of the world," WW South coach Jimmy Selleck said. "That's why we like this tournament. It's important to play well (at Batavia). We're honored to be in the top five."

Benet landed Ben Johnson in the individual top 10 courtesy of a 75, and the Redwings were further aided by JJ VanEekeren and Alex Bassetto with a combined 154.

"We had three very solid scores," Benet coach Dan Nagis said. "We have a month to find a better fourth or fifth score."

Glenbard South sophomore Christopher Dufort was fifth overall after his 74 was translated via a scorecard playoff.

"The driver was straight all day," Dufort said. "I had 3 birdies and an eagle (on the par-5 12th hole) in the round."

Russell Matos also earned top-10 distinction for the Raiders with his ninth-place 75.

Naperville North is in transition mode after losing five members of its state runner-up squad from last year.

"We're not the powerhouse we have been the last few years," said Naperville North coach Ryan Hantak, whose team had its 34-match DuPage Valley Conference winning streak snapped earlier this week by Wheaton North.

Marmion continued its solid play this season as all four of its scores were 79 or better.

The Cadets were two shots lower than Benet for fifth place as Joe Fritz and Jackson Clark had matching 77s; Luke Hoss and Caleb Vest rounded out the Cadets' 311 total with a 78 and 79.

"It was up and down," Fritz said of his overall play. "(I) started off bad. I had birdies at (Nos.) 9 and 10 and then made a great save (for par) at 11. It went downhill from there."

"I would say I (scored) pretty well for the way I played," said Clark, a sophomore. "I made a couple of harder putts at the end."

Host Batavia was a shot behind Benet to finish seventh.

Nick Bleihorn, the only player with returning varsity experience for the Bulldogs, fired a 4-over 76 to finish 10th.

"I know I have to shoot well," Bleihorn said. "I have to shoot a good score in order for our team to do well. I played really well on the front. I missed a few short putts that would have made a lower round."

Nick Robinson complemented Bleihorn with a 77 for Batavia.

The Bulldogs' JV team bested six teams.

"We're playing better," Batavia coach Tim DeBruycker said. "We're getting closer. My sophomores are coming along. I have three in the starting lineup. That 77 is solid for (Robinson)."

St. Charles North was five shots higher than its Upstate Eight Conference River rival and host Batavia.

Matt Samuelson and JT Grill had 77s for St. Charles North, and two-time divisional MVP Raghav Cherala had a 79 for the North Stars.

St. Charles East had a split squad, and Colin Johnson fired a 79 to lead the Saints.

Brody Kuhar (82), Devin Johnson (82) and Mike Golich (81) had the respective low rounds for Kaneland, Aurora Christian and West Aurora.

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