Boys golf: Sunny result for Lake County invite champ Stevenson
What was an eerie view it was in the early stages of the Lake County boys golf invite on Monday afternoon as the eclipse visited Shepherd's Crook Golf Course in Zion.
It left the golf course feeling a bit like it was late evening, with still winds and not much sound -- except for the players taking their shots.
Stevenson's Matt Schawel was one of the golfers that had a difficult time at first, when he bogeyed the par 4, 415-yard sixth hole.
All the golfers began in a shotgun format around 1 p.m. While the peak of the eclipse came quickly after that, players were told if it got too dark they could stop for 10 minutes and wait.
"I really didn't see (the eclipse)," Schawel said. "I actually bogeyed my first hole and then the wind picked up after that. I guess I bogeyed on the eclipse. It didn't feel all that different, and I just tried to focus on the golf."
After that, Schawel found that focus and came into the clubhouse with the Patriots' top score of 74, which helped Stevenson take the title with a 299, just ahead of Lake Forest (301), Highland Park (303) and Deerfield (304) in the 16-team event.
"It's always tough to play in the wind, but it helps you focus more on each shot," Schawel said. "There were a lot of good players out here, and other people were shooting low. It was good to come in with the final score. I was trying to keep up with our other players on the course."
The Patriots' other three scores included Jackson Bussell, Mark Noonan and Phillippe Kim, each with 75s.
"Any day, any team can win at any time," Stevenson coach John Rueth said. "Great competition, and it's good to see. This means you have to play well every day. If you don't, then you can be back of four teams. It's good to see a lot of young kids that are competitive.
"Anytime you play well, it's awesome. It gives you confidence that you can do it. It can put you on the top of your game. When it comes down to the playoffs, it could come down to one shot. The whole season is playing and getting prepared for that pressure. All you can control is the next shot."
Mitch Kenston of Libertyville was the top medalist with a 1-over 72 on the 6,750-yard course, with a 35 and 37 on his 9s. He finished his round with a birdie on a long 426-yard, par 4 10th hole.
"When we started, it felt we were playing around sunset (with the eclipse)," Kenston said. "After about nine holes it started to get real sunny. The wind really picked up with five holes left."
Others receiving medals were Josh Zolden of Highland Park (73), Danny Fisher of Lake Forest (74), Schawel (74), Michael Sisk of Grayslake Central (74), Jacob Radis of Deerfield (74), Scott Gajdel of Deerfield (74), Bussell (75), Pierce Grieve of Lake Forest (75), Noonan (75), Christian Loar of Mundelein (75), Kim (75), Jed Thomas of Lake Forest (76), Joey Harrigan of Highland Park (76) and Caden Jessen of Lake Zurich (76).
Grayslake Central was in the next tier of teams at sixth place (321), just behind Libertyville (320) and ahead of Lake Zurich (323), Mundelein (324) and Warren (325).
The Rams had three competitive senior shoot in the 70s: Sisk (74) and Alec Novak and Tyler Hanson (78s).
"We're hunting for the fourth score," Grayslake Central coach Jim Mazzetta said, "We have some kids that don't have a lot of varsity experience. Hopefully as the year goes on they can get it going. I'm happy to see this early in the season. We have a freshman playing in his first meet (Gianni Luchessi), and we expect him and others to get better."