Kacie O'Donnell and Isabella Flack have grown up playing at the Mt. Prospect Golf Club.
They know the course like the back of their hands.
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But because the course is closed this fall for renovations, that doesn't mean the Prospect seniors won't get plenty of hands for their superb shot-making.
O'Donnell and Flack are two of the top golfers in the area and they will serve as co-captains for the defending Class AA state champions this fall.
Although they've been classmates from kindergarten at Lions Park and junior high at Lincoln Middle School in Mt. Prospect, the two friends never imagined one day they'd combine to lead the prestigious Knights squad.
"At first, I just looked at golf as another sport to play," said O'Donnell, who does not plan to play collegiately. "But after my first summer going to play in Decatur (on the course which host the state championship) that's when I knew I loved it and everything came together.
"I realized I wanted to work at it and do what the older girls were doing,"
Those older girls at the time included future Division I recruits such as Allison Walsh and Christine Garmoe.
"I always looked up to them," said O'Donnell, a National Honor Society student (4.7 GPA) who is looking at possibly studying criminal law or education in college. "The environment, coaches and teammates my freshman year did so much to help get me to where I am."
O'Donnell's best score as a freshman was 53 for nine holes. The next year she placed 16th in the Class AA state tournament and 33rd last fall as a junior. She has never lost a conference match.
"It's how Mr. Hamann sets up everything," O'Donnell said of the success of the program. "We get so much done in practice every day. He keeps everyone competing against each other and we all get better together."
Flack will be competing at the collegiate level next year. She committed this week to the Ferris State University Division II women's golf program in Big Rapids, Mich.
"Isabella has come a long way," Hamann said. "I am very proud of her. This is a great fit for Iz. I know they (Ferris) will be very happy to have a Knight. She has accomplished a huge personal goal and she is happy to have this decision made now so she can focus on this current golf season."
But she is proud of being a part of the last three seasons.
"It's been so exciting to be a part of what all the great players have left behind," Flack said. "This program shows you that you can do anything if you put your mind to it."
Flack's best score as a freshman was 46 for nine holes.
One year later, she placed 46th in the Class AA state tournament and then 65th as a junior.
"As a freshman, I didn't expect all this," Flack said. "With all the good girls we had in the program, I just wanted to work as hard as I could and be as good as they."
Flack, who lives across the street from the Mt. Prospect Golf Course, would play the sport with her father as a child.
"It wasn't until eighth grade when I really got into it," she said. "I went to Mr. Hamann's summer camps and it made me really love golf. I wanted to give it a try and see if I could make the varsity. At first I was nervous trying out with all the older girls."
Now Flack is one of those "older" girls, and she is enjoying it.
She knows she must be a leader with O'Donnell for this year's squad.
"Mr. Hamann does a real good job with practices and everything else so I know the scores of everyone will drop," Flack said. "We'll take it one match at a time and see what happens when we get to the postseason."
Hamann is excited about the prospects for O'Donnell and Flack this fall.
"They've been on our past teams with great leaders and now it is their turn to lead," the coach said. "Kacie and Isabella couldn't be more fun to coach. We always have a good time together. It has been a lot of fun being a small part of their improvements throughout their golf careers."
Hamann will count on the veteran's scores at every tournament and meet this fall.
"Kacie and Isabella know their roles," he said. "They are very excited about this opportunity and I am very proud of both them. Kacie and Isabella are going to have a great season. They will be ready."