The Elgin Country Club golf course played nicely to one of its members and to a bunch of first-timers on Tuesday at the 18-team Country Club Invite, hosted by South Elgin.
St. Edward junior Michael Mattas, an ECC member, shot a career-low 69 to win the individual title while Marmion, which didn't have a single player who had ever seen the 6,500-yard layout, captured the team championship with a 318 on a perfect day for golf.
Mattas' 3-under par round bested second-place Joe Addante of Jacobs by 4 strokes, while Marmion used a fifth-score tiebreaker to snag the championship trophy from the host Storm. Huntley did the same to Burlington Central, taking home the third-place trophy after each team shot 327.
"I got off to a hot start with a birdie on 13," said Mattas, 16, who has been playing golf since he was 4 years old but added he's only taken the game seriously since he was 10. "I bogeyed after that but I just kept grinding it out and stayed patient. If I made a bogey I knew I could come back with a birdie. I'm comfortable on my home course. I really hit my driver good today. I hit it solid most of the time into fairways and had good angles into the greens and I putted really well, too."
For Marmion, the experience of playing at a course like the country club, and winning the tournament, should bode well for the future for a team of four juniors and a sophomore.
"It's their first time seeing the course and the course is difficult," said Cadets' coach Doug Roberts. "They should be happy. It's a neat golf course. We don't get to see a whole lot of courses like this during our season."
Junior Luke Hoss led the way for Marmion with a 5-over 77, which tied him for fifth place with four other golfers. Jackson Clark and Johnny Callahan each had 79s and Joey Fremgen shot an 83 for the Cadets, who won the title on sophomore Nick Higgins' 86, which bested South Elgin's fifth score by 3 strokes.
"We were pretty consistent," said Hoss. "It's a tough course and nobody on our team had seen it. Johnny Callahan with a 79, that's very impressive. It's really good to see that this early in the season. It was definitely a good day and I think we still left a couple strokes out there."
South Elgin's Hildebrandt was pleased with the way his team played as well. Brandon Giesey matched Hildebrandt's 77, while Erik Dauksavage had an 80 and Nathan Reeser an 84 for the Storm.
"Our team did pretty well," Hildebrandt said. "We struggled some on the higher scores so there's definitely room for improvement."
Jacobs' Addante, a senior, also played the country club course for the first time and came in with his second best personal round. His career low is a 71 at Itasca Country Club.
"I was putting really good today," Addante said. "I practiced putting (Monday) and benefited from that today."
Burlington Central's Austin Niesel took home the third-place medal with a 3-over 75.
"I hit the ball really good," Niesel said. "I hit a lot of fairways and greens but I couldn't get my putting going; I only had two birdies. Other than that, it was a pretty standard round."
Jake Grabner led Huntley to the third place trophy with a 78. Trent Craig and Jake Bowser each had 80s for the Red Raiders and Andrew Mendonca carded an 89.
Burlington Central added an 80 each from brothers Andrew and Joe Sherman and a 92 from Jacob Ledebuhr.
Larkin's Jon Lenz (77) won the fourth-place medal on a score card tiebreaker.