Benet prevails in 'war of attrition'
The coaches' sentiments at the Class 3A Hinsdale South boys golf regional echoed a familiar refrain after the scores came home Tuesday afternoon in Lockport.
Dan Nagis, whose Benet program captured its fifth major tournament title of the season with a 297-299 triumph over Naperville North, used the expression "war of attrition."
"In other regionals (Hinsdale South, Waubonsie Valley and Downers Grove South) may even win it with those scores," Naperville North coach Ryan Hantak said after the three schools lost out to Naperville Central for the third team qualifier to the Redhawks' sectional on Monday. "You can't have an off-day and expect to make it out of this regional."
"This will always be the Mecca for high school golf," Nagis said. "We live in the wrong place."
The Redhawks were at 305 for third; Hinsdale South edged Waubonsie Valley for fourth on a fifth-card tiebreaker.
Downers South was a shot behind at 309 for sixth but did advance three individuals to Springbrook on Monday.
West Aurora shaved 33 shots from its showing at the DuPage Valley Conference championship last Thursday.
The Blackhawks' Mike Golich was one of six qualifiers to advance in a seven-man playoff as the individual cut fell at 78 at Prairie Bluff.
West Aurora defeated city rival Marmion for the first time this season in a common tournament as the Cadets were a shot behind the Blackhawks at 320.
Metea Valley was ninth after crafting a 321 total, but the Mustangs' David Lipan made the individual cut on the number.
In winning their first postseason tournament in four years, the Redwings received a level-par 72 from JJ VanEekeren and a 74 from Frank Ferconi.
"It was more of a team mentality," VanEekeren said of the expectations coming into the tournament. "We had the confidence that we expected to do well. (My play) was really consistent throughout the day."
Naperville North had all six players in the 70s as Michael Doherty, the Huskies' lone returning state qualifier, led the team with a 73.
Griffin Brown complemented Doherty with a 74.
Naperville Central -- despite an 87 for its fourth score -- advanced as Scott Dunsire and Eddie Lieser were a combined 2-under par after the former fired an outward-nine 33 en route to a 70.
"Putting was the key," Dunsire said. "I wanted to be around 36, 37 (on the back nine). I knew I didn't need to shoot another 33. Pars were going to be a good score."
Brian Strumillo and Jason Marrs had almost identical scores, not to mention mentalities, as their days progressed.
Strumillo was the first regional champion for Hinsdale South since 1998 with his 3-under 69 total.
Marrs, the Upstate Eight Valley player of the year for Waubonsie Valley, fired a 70 to tie Dunsire for second.
"I thought I needed a 66 or 67 to get our team to the sectional," Strumillo said. "(I) fell a couple of shots short."
Marrs, whose teammate Zach Mayer fired a 74 to advance, had 6 birdies in his round.
"I told the guys before the day that we've got to break 305 to have a chance to advance," said Marrs, whose prediction was later vindicated. "I knew I had to break par for us to advance as a team."
West Aurora lowered its best showing on the season by 16 shots in concluding its year with a seventh-place finish.
Golich fired nine-hole rounds of 40 and 38 to qualify for the large playoff.
"Coach (Jay Bauer) kind of had a talk with us (after a disappointing showing at conference)," Golich said. "We all decided we should take this more seriously."
The Blackhawks' senior also made a critical swing change after his round at Bartlett Hills last week.
"I fixed my slice a little bit," Golich said. "Things started getting straighter; I was hitting more fairways and greens. This is my first time making it to the sectional."
Golich had a routine par on the lone playoff hole to advance as an at-large qualifier.
Fellow tri-captains Daniel Newsome and Daniel Waters closed out their West Aurora careers with identical scores of 80.
Waters had a level-par 36 on his inward-nine to frame his last tournament round.
Dean Lavery also had his lowest score of the season with an 81 for the fourth West Aurora contribution.
"I figured we would be ninth out of 10 teams," Bauer said. "That's what the tee sheets (based on yearly averages) said. "The kids shot well. It was a beautiful day. I don't remember a day like this at a regional."
Marmion coach Doug Roberts said on Saturday after sharing the Suburban Christian Conference title with St. Francis that his squad would have to play better to advance to the Naperville Central sectional.
The Cadets' ambition to be in the top three unraveled as sophomore Luke Hoss, playing as the sixth man, was their low man with a 78.
Hoss survived the seven-man playoff with a bogey-5 on the first sudden-death hole.
Hoss made a clutch 5-foot putt for par on the final hole in regulation to frame his 78.
"I knew (the individual cut) was 78 last year," Hoss said. "I definitely played well today. After making the last putt, I had a good idea that was to be a playoff number."
The Cadets' Ricky Angsten and Jackson Clark missed the playoff by a shot, and yearlong No. 1 player completed the team scorecard with an 84.
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