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updated: 10/19/2013 6:03 PM

Renner's work leads to fifth-place finish

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By Bill Esbrook
Daily Herald Correspondent

Robert Renner has enjoyed quite a bit of success on the ice for St. Viator as a member of the highly regarded Lions hockey team.

As a matter of fact, the high-scoring winger led his team all the way to the Blackhawk Cup, the state championship game, as a sophomore.

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Now a senior, Renner showed Saturday -- as he has for the past several years -- that he has a ton of talent on the links as well as a flair for the big stage.

Once described by Viator boys golf coach Jack Halpin as "the hardest-working athlete I've ever seen," Renner battled the elements at the Den at Fox Creek course in Bloomington to fire an even par 72 at the Class 3A boys golf state championship finals.

The outstanding score, coupled with a 74 on Friday in the first day of the meet competition, saw the senior finish fifth individually, just 5 strokes behind medalist Brian Ohr of Glenbrook North.

"Robert has always been a gutsy player," said Halpin, "but the way he performed today in the face of a howling wind was just unbelievable. He has absolutely no fear."

Renner was on track for an even better round until his putter let him down in the latter stages.

"He was on pace to shoot 69," added Halpin, "but he missed some short putts on 15, 17and 18."

St. Viator junior Nick Carlson added to the effort with a blistering 2-under 34 on the back nine, and his three-birdie day and overall 76 helped the Lions to a sixth-place team finish.

Hinsdale Central won its second consecutive state title while New Trier took runner-up honors.

"The wind was blowing like mad today," said Halpin, "but our guys gutted it out to post one of the low team scores of the day. It was just brutal out there."

Renner, who has committed to Florida Gulf Coast University, said that the weather conditions didn't affect him all that much.

"It was tough ," said the senior, "but actually it kind of suited my game. Unfortunately, I missed some putts late that I usually make."

Prospect enjoyed another successful afternoon in Bloomington -- especially seniors Josh Johnson and Reid Dahlstrom.

Johnson carded another sparkling 76, the same score he posted on Friday, and his two-day 8 over total placed him in 16th position in the individual race.

And talk about consistency: Dahlstrom fired a 77 Saturday, identical to what he carded Friday, including a birdie on the Den's infamous sixth hole. That effort helped lead the Knights to seventh place.

The senior, who hit a driver over the water on No. 6, then a sand wedge to the green where he putted out for birdie, said he and his teammates reveled in the state meet atmosphere.

"It's been 14 years since Prospect was last down here as a team," said Dahlstrom, "and it's been just an incredible experience. There's nothing else like it, but it's tough to realize that my high school golf career has come to an end."

Barrington junior Joey Batliner had a solid tourney with a 22-over aggregate score. Prospect junior Jack Kavanagh (80 Saturday, including 3 birdies), junior Grant Gavin (82-82-164), senior Ralph Tenuta (78 Friday) and senior Jacob Schwister (80 Friday) all contributed to the Knights' placement.

Sophomore Liam Warner showed the future is bright for Viator by firing a 159 over two rounds, while senior teammates Hudson Luthringshausen and Ryan Fitzmaurice each had a couple of birdies in Saturday's competition.

But most of the accolades belonged to Renner, who said that it was strange to see his prep golf career conclude.

"It's kind of weird to think about it," said the senior. "The next time I tee it up in a situation like this will be with my college teammates."

But first there's another high school hockey season to contend with. Renner says he won't have any problem switching sports so quickly.

"I've always played multi sports," said Renner, "so I'm used to it. "Golf is kind of laid back, where hockey is more intense. But there can be a lot of pressure in both. Today was a big tournament, obviously, but I've played in a lot of big golf tournaments so I knew how to handle the pressure."

"There might have been more people out here watching us today, but I tried to treat it like any other tourney."

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