It looks like life will go on just fine in the post-Matt Weber era for the Burlington Central boys' golf team.
In their first tournament since the departure of the Fox Valley area's top golfer from a year ago, the Rockets finished in second place in the Larkin Invitational at The Golf Club of Illinois in Algonquin on Wednesday. Central recorded a team score of 320 just 2 strokes behind the tournament winner DeKalb.
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Senior Andrew Sherman led the way with a 6-over par 77 to tie for second place individually with DeKalb's Connor Hoyle just 1 stroke behind Austin Freeman, also from DeKalb. Austin Niesel and Andrew Abel both shot a 79 for the Rockets.
"Obviously, it's tough to lose a player like Matt," Central coach Deb Twenhafel said. "He did so much for the program. One of the biggest things was the leadership he gave us last year and that really has made an impact on our guys this year. They learned so much from him and now they are believing in themselves. I'm very pleased with our performance today."
The highlight for Andrew Sherman came when he eagled the par-4 18th hole. After a solid drive Sherman holed a pitching wedge from 125 yards out on his second shot. He also had 3 birdies on the day.
"That was pretty exciting," Sherman said. " I have had a few eagles before, but that is the first one on a par 4. It was just an up-and-down day for me. I made some great shots, but then I had a few holes where I fell apart and double-bogeyed. Overall though I thought the whole team did a great job."
South Elgin finished third overall with a 327. The past year has made quite a difference for the Storm's Ethan Hildebrandt. A year ago the senior wasn't even on the starting varsity squad, but on Wednesday he shot a 78 to finish fourth overall.
"I grew about 5 inches the past year and I've devoted a lot of time on getting better," Hildebrandt said. "I've been hitting the ball a mile and cut about six strokes off my average. I played with a lot of composure out there today."
Nate Reeser added an 82 for the Storm. Erik Dauksavage had an 83 and Brandon Giesey an 84.
"I'm ecstatic with the way we played today," said first-year South Elgin coach Gordon Brown. "We were hoping for a top 5 finish and I think we exceeded our expectations. Ethan has really come on strong for us and shot really well again today. It was a great start for us and we just hope to continue to build on this."
St. Edward finished fifth overall with 340. Aaron Worf led the way for the Green Wave with an 80 to finish tied for eighth overall. Dan Lenz of Larkin had an 82 to finish tied with six others for 10th place.