Prospect senior TJ Swan played a ton of competitive golf over the summer, honing his skills.
Swan estimates that he played in close to 15 tournaments during the break from school, but he knows that there'll be a change in mindset now that his senior year of classes is about to begin Wednesday.
"Things will be different, that's for sure," said Swan. "You've definitely got to concentrate on your schoolwork."
And in an impressive performance, the senior showed that all his summertime hard work on the course has paid off as he fired a 78 at Monday's Rolling Green Invitational.
Swan's score led the perennially strong Knights squad in the season's unofficial kickoff tourney, recording two birdies and "getting up and down and making putts."
The senior has worked his way up from being "number eight man" last year, in his words, to a starting spot this season.
"I was happy with my round today," said Swan, "except for a couple double bogeys that I'm not exactly proud of. This is a tight course, and you've got to keep your drives in the fairway here."
Prospect teammate Jack Kavanagh shot 79 as the Knights posted a team score of 322, good for fifth place overall. Glenbrook South won the invite with a 297.
"We're out to have fun this year, play our best, and keep battling," said Swan of the Knights' outlook for 2014. "We plan to take it one day and one shot at a time."
Stevenson posted a mark of 320, led by a 74 (fourth place overall) from senior Jason Gohde as the golfers played the picturesque Rolling Green layout in picture-perfect conditions, with a temperature in the low 80s and barely a breath of wind.
St. Viator finished with a 327 as senior Nick Carlson led the way by carding a 41-38 79.
"We weren't the best team out here today," said Carlson, "but we're coming into the season with a positive attitude."
Grant Reese of the team champion Titans won individual medalist honors with a 71 as North Shore schools dominated the tourney, winning 8 of the top 10 medals.
Kamaren Sandhu of the Patriots claimed the sixth-place medal with a 76, while other local scores of note included an 80 from St. Viator's Liam Warner.
Matt Trimberger of the Lions carded an 81, as did crosstown rivals Will Fine and Max Heeren of Hersey.
Brandon Tudor from Schaumburg shot 81, while Grant Gavin of Prospect posted an 82.
Rolling Meadows junior Jack Horan, shooting in the No. 6 position, posted an 82 to pace the Mustangs and said that his young team has a great future ahead. The Mustangs' eight-man roster includes 4 juniors, 4 sophomores, and no seniors – but Horan said the lessons learned from last season's senior class is driving Meadows this year.
"What we learned from them," said Horan, "is to be patient, and not give up on any hole or any shot. They taught us to be better golfers."
"I felt good today," added the junior. "I was hitting the fairways and draining my putts. I played a lot over the summer, but didn't really put it all together until today."