There was a decidedly unexpected conclusion to the 36-hole Suburban Christian Conference boys golf tournament Saturday afternoon in Bensenville.
St. Francis enjoyed a 4-shot lead on Marmion entering second-round action at White Pines Golf Club, only to have the cushion shrink as play progressed.
The two teams ultimately finished in a dead heat when the top-four scorers for each team was posted.
Marmion apparently had the tiebreaker, but Marmion coach Doug Roberts refused to accept the verdict due to a contentious 2-stroke penalty assessed a St. Francis player during the course of play.
"They should have won by 2 (shots)," Roberts said of St. Francis' 625 total, which Marmion matched behind three top-six performers in Joe Fritz, Ricky Angsten and Luke Hoss. "(The infraction) was over a 6-inch putt."
"I probably should have warned him first," admitted Marmion senior Joe Fritz, who called the penalty after the ball was not properly replaced on the green.
St. Francis coach Greg Baresel was more diplomatic regarding the issue.
"(Roberts and I) decided to make it co-champions," Baresel said. "It was best for the kids to make it that way."
It was St. Francis' first conference championship in golf since the 1990s.
Marmion had not won the title since the league expanded.
There was both a team and individual cut after first-round play.
Aurora Central Catholic, behind top-seven finishers Justin Prince and Sean Harreld, improved to third overall with a second-round 326. St. Edward also hop-scotched two teams for fourth, with Wheaton Academy and Marian Central rounding out the six-team final field.
St. Francis' Jonathan Nocek was the tournament champion after following his 2-over par 72 on Friday with a 77 on Saturday for a two-day total of 149.
The Spartans' sophomore from Bloomingdale was the lone player to break 150.
The Cadets' Fritz was runner-up at 152, including a Marmion low of 73 on Friday.
"I knew my driver was straight, and that was a big key here for driving well on this course," Nocek said of White Pines' notoriously demanding tee shots. "We were just trying to beat (our Marmion counterparts) in our group."
Fritz took an equally conservative approach with White Pines' tree-lined fairways to fire a collective 152.
"I was just being smart off the tee," the Naperville resident said. "I only hit driver three times over the two days. I was just getting it in play."
The Cadets' Ricky Ansten denied Wheaton Academy sophomore Grant Gosden for third-place after the duo tied at 154.
Luke Hoss' second straight round in the 70s left the Marmion sophomore in sixth place.
"I should have done Friday what I did today," Hoss said. "I knew we had to try and get back. It was a good grinding day."
St. Francis' second-day 320 was completed behind Connor Buckley (77), John Stolte (82) and Dan Uralsk (84).
Prince fired a second-day 75 to lead Aurora Central to third.
The Chargers had almost identical 18-hole team scores of 325 and 326.
Prince could have faired far better than sixth overall had he not lost three tee shots on Friday.
"I hit it out of bounds three times," Prince said of his play on Friday. "I need to play better (at the Chargers' Class 2A regional Tuesday at Phillips Park)."
Daniel Miller, Harreld and Zach Bauer were the Chargers' other contributors on Saturday.
St. Edward sophomore Michael Mattas followed a milestone round on Friday with a respectable 80 on Saturday to lead the Green Wave.
"I hit the ball well on the first day," said Mattas, who finished eighth overall after an opening-round 77. "I only hit a couple of greens (in regulation on Saturday), but I was able to get up and down pretty consistently. (The Friday 77) was my lowest high school score in a tournament."
Michael and John Butzow had matching 82s for St. Edward, and its team 330, two shots higher than on Friday, enabled St. Edward Wheaton Academy and Marian Central in the team standings.
The Green Wave second-day renaissance was completed with Dan Winters' 86.