Impressive debut for Buffalo Grove
For the first time since he took over the program eight years ago, Buffalo Grove girls golf coach Matt Myers watched his Bison win a championship just one day into the season.
The Bison captured Monday's annual Early Bird Invite hosted by Conant at the Fox Run Golf Course in Elk Grove by 6 strokes over Class AA defending state champ Prospect 339-345.
"We have a lot of new faces in the program," said Myers, whose team graduated four of its top six players. "But a lot of the new ones stepped up."
One of the newest, freshman Haeri Lee, made an impressive debut by finishing second with a 77 behind Prospect senior Kacie O'Donnell, who fired the day's best round of 75.
O'Donnell's longtime classmate through grammar school and junior high, Isabella Flack (79), earned a tie for third with Conant junior Megan Nagorzanski, who shot a career-best round.
Completing the scoreboard for BG were junior Emily Carnes (82), freshman Jasmine Yi (87) and senior Stacy Mantas (93).
"It's really special to come out and do this in our first tournament of the season," Carnes said. "It's really awesome, especially with all the underclassmen we have."
Lee's high school debut included one birdie.
"I was nervous at first," said Lee, who has carded a career-best 73 in an IJGA tournament in Deerfield. "But I really like the people here and everyone involved and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. I felt my tee shots were pretty strong."
Myers says Lee's attitude is terrific.
"She has a lot of quiet energy to her," the coach added. "She doesn't get too excited or rattled and she is always excited to play golf. She has a very mature approach to playing the game."
Prospect's O'Donnell played the game impressively on Monday with her 75 (36-39) that included birdies on the course's opening holes of the front and back nine.
"I thought I was hitting the greens well," said O'Donnell, whose best high school score is a 71. "I was making solid contact with my irons."
Flack's 79 included a 20-foot putt on hole No. 7 for par and a 2-foot birdie putt on the 18th.
"I was hitting my irons well and hitting the greens," said Flack, who has been on the Knights' two state championship teams and runner-up squad the last three years.
Prospect coach Jim Hamann called it a great start for O'Donnell.
"The last week or so she hadn't been hitting the ball like she wanted," said Hamann, whose club has won six straight Mid-Suburban League titles. "She had an excellent practice on Saturday so it was good to see that hard work pay off (Monday). A lot of girls who win this tournament end up with phenomenal seasons."
Hamann said O'Donnell and Flack know their senior leadership roles this season.
"It's my job to find the other four scores that an help us," he said. "We are very confident that we will do the best job we can to make that happen."
Hersey was the next-highest MSL finisher in the 14-team tourney, tying with Deerfield (363) for fifth place.
Coach Dan Vesper's Huskies' were led by Megan Kopeny (87), who tied for 13th with Yi of BG.
The host Cougars, led by Nagorzanski and Carly Bryeans (82), placed seventh while Schaumburg was eighth, led by Gianna Fanelli's 93 which tied her for 20th.
Other MSL golfers in the top 20 were Elk Grove's Megan Walz and Hersey's Lexi Heidkamp (tied for 15th with 89s), Prospect's Sammy Minasian (tied for 17th with a 90), Prospect's Payton Chantry (tied for 19th with a 92) and BG's Mantas, who tied for 20th with Hersey's Sophia Cacioppo and Fanelli.
Barrington Invite: Fremd kicked off its season by winning the Barrington Invite at Bonnie Dundee Golf Course with a round of 320.
The host Fillies and Libertyville tied for second (330) in the 11-team field.
Barrington sophomore Reena Sulkar set the tournament record by firing a 3-under 68, breaking the mark of 69 set by Waubonsie Valley's Bing Singhsumalee.
Finishing fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, were Fremd's Jachee Hur (77), Kelly O'Sullivan (77) and Haezi Jung (78) while the Vikings' final score was an 88 from Sophia Metallo.
Barrington sophomore Shivani Majmudar carded an 80 to place ninth.
The Fillies also counted the scores of Bailee McDonald and Allie Quinn who each shot 91s.
Sulkar's big round included 4 birdies, three on the back nine.
"She was striking the ball well," said Barrington Hall of Fame coach Jodi Schoeck. "Reena played in a lot of AJGA tournaments this summer with collegiate players so she got herself ready and in real good shape."