Girls golf: Sulkar, Barrington in state title picture after day one
For the first time in her four trips to the IHSA state tournament, Barrington senior Reena Sulkar was able to bring along all her teammates.
And she sure showed them how to play the Hickory Point Golf Club in Decatur.
Sulkar is in a seven-way tie for first after shooting a 1-under par 71 in Friday's first round.
And those folks she brought along with her this time?
They're following their leader quite well.
Barrington finds itself just 4 strokes off the lead, trailing only Wheaton Warrenville South 298-302.
Next comes New Trier (305), Hinsdale Central (307), St. Chares North (309), Naperville North (310) Benet (312), Prospect (318), Galesburg (322), O'Fallon (324), Normal (328) and St. Charles East (332).
The Mid-Suburban League champion's score card of 302 included sophomore Nicole Ciskowski's 76, freshman Caroline Smith's 77 and senior Allie Quinn's 78. Senior Shivani Majmudar shot an 80 and sophomore Ishani Majmudar 87.
"The girls were so happy to finally get to the first tee and be able to begin their state final rounds," said Barrington coach Jodi Schoeck. "We have been talking about it for so long and it finally came to pass."
Sulkar birdied holes No. 16 and 17 for a sizzling 3-under par 33 on the back nine.
"Reena had such a fabulous day," Schoeck said of the Illinois recruit. "It's the second year in a row she has finished at the top of the leader board the first day. She was burning the edges of the cup all day."
"That consistency was what she needed to finish so tough. Those two birdies (16 and 17) were when the wind was kicking up so that lifted her to her strong finish."
Ciskowski produced a 37-39 for her 4-over score.
"Nicole was smashing her driver all day," Schoeck said. "She almost drove the par-4 ninth hole. On 18, she had a wonderful par finish.
"Allie Quinn (40-38) shot her season low. She was cool as a cucumber. She was able to scramble and recover when she needed it. Her putter showed up when it needed to. That round really propelled us."
The Fillies, whose best finish in a state tournament came in 1996 when they were third, are excited for Saturday's final round.
"This puts us in a good position for the final day," Schoeck said. "We need to stay relaxed and play our game and just do our best. Getting the first day under their belts has given them the confidence to attack the course (Saturday).
"The team stuck to their game plans and came out firing on the first day of the state finals. I enjoyed seeing so many smiling faces today. This was a solid total team effort. We are excited for the possibilities on Saturday. It's time to go out and play our game and leave it all out on the course. The girls want to finish strong."
Prospect produced its strongest numbers of the season.
The Knights' 18-hole score of 318 and 154 for nine holes were season bests. Their previous best for 18 was a 323.
"I love the way we competed," said Knights coach Jim Hamann. "We played the first nine holes so well. The kids were ready to play. They keep improving every round and it so fun to watch."
Hamann watched senior Kate Ponzi lead the way with a 76, placing her in a tie for 19th with Barrington's Ciskowski.
"Kate played great all day," said Prospect coach Jim Hamann. "She made three birdies in a row (Nos. 17, 18 and 1)."
Ponzi was followed by junior Margherite Pentenuzzo (80), senior Sabrina Accardi (81), sophomore Emily Fleming (81), senior Mary Schafer (86) and freshman Kelly Kavanagh (88).
"Margherite had an excellent round as well," Hamann said. "She had a great day around the greens. Sabrina got off to a great start and finished like a champion with a birdie on hole No. 9."
Fleming shot a 40 on the front and 41 on the back.
"Emily is really starting to play well," Hamann said. "She is very talented and really close to learning how to score low."
Hamann would love to see low scores in Saturday's second round.
"We are excited," he said. "The kids are playing great. We will give it our best shot in our last round."
Among the area golfers participating are Buffalo Grove junior Hairi Lee (77) who is tied for 27th with Barrington's Smith, Wheeling sophomore Adrienne Rohwedder (79) and Hersey senior Megan Kopeny (81).