Boys golf: Geneva wins Elgin invite on fifth card
As a two-time returning team qualifier at the Class 3A boys golf state tournament, Geneva has been searching all fall to regain its foothold among area programs.
Monday afternoon at Bartlett Hills, the Vikings captured their first tournament title of the season against Neuqua Valley at the Elgin Invitational.
Teegan Ebel and Jake Mills fired matching 81s for the Vikings' fourth and fifth scores in Bartlett, and the two 10-over par totals were enough to lift Geneva past the Wildcats on the tiebreaker after each program totaled 309 strokes.
Lake Park was third at 315, followed by Dundee-Crown (332), Bartlett (341), St. Charles North (344), South Elgin (348), Hoffman Estates (362), Larkin (396), Elgin (420) and Streamwood (no team score).
"I think it's really going to boast morale for the whole team," said Ebel.
Tyler Isenhart, tied for third last October in Bloomington at the state finals, was in a customary position in leading Geneva to the team title.
The junior won his fifth tournament of the season with composite nine-hole scores of 36 and 37 for an overall 2-over total.
"We're improving rapidly," Isenhart said. "We started off (the season) not so great. Last year we were playing really solid. We lost some seniors, so we have some new kids in the lineup. We're still playing pretty well."
Isenhart had to finesse his way to his 73 when his driving clubs went AWOL.
"I was pretty wild off the tee, but every other thing to my game was pretty solid," Isenhart said.
Sean Hassels' afternoon for Geneva featured diametrically opposite levels of play.
"I had 7 bogeys and birdie on the front for a 41," Hassels said. "I just got to the 10th tee and felt I had some good golf coming. I was bogey-free for the first eight (holes) on the back side."
Hassels' back-nine 35 turned into a fourth-place 76.
Jack McDonald toured Bartlett Hill in 79 for the Vikings' third-lowest score, which translated into seventh place.
Geneva is seeking greater consistency between sides in its tournament play.
"If you look at our scores for our past few events, we seem to have one really good nine in an 18-hole contest," Geneva coach Eric Hatczel said. "We have slowly been bringing that back so they balance out a little bit better."
Matt McQuillen and JP Anderson had identical scores of 80 to guide Dundee-Crown, but it was the former who snared the final top-10 prize via the scorecard tiebreaker.
Bartlett senior leader Nate Gorniak had the same tally in not only leading the Hawks but also securing ninth place for himself.
Tanay Abichandani and Nathan Mehta had the finest respective rounds for St. Charles North and South Elgin with their scores of 83.
Neuqua Valley and Lake Park have a return date at Bartlett Hills for the DuPage Valley Conference championship next week.
Jimmy Mikuta and Michael Rhee were heavily relied upon for Neuqua Valley after senior leader and returning state qualifier Jack Vercautren surged to an unexpected 80.
The seniors rose to the challenge, however, with twin anchor scores of 74 and 75 to finish second and third.
"I didn't try to think about how big the tournament was," said Mikuta, who earned his first runner-up finish of the season. "I did pretty well, I think. What I did best was greens in regulation. I hit a lot of them within 10 feet. I actually had no birdies. I just made pars and moved onto the next hole."
It was matter of making adjustments around the greens for Rhee.
"The biggest thing today was my putting," Rhee said. "I have been battling it hard the last couple of rounds getting the speeds right. There were a couple of short birdie putts that I didn't capitalize on, but overall I'm happy with (my score)."
Jordan Fischer and Luke Dianovsky were fifth and sixth for Lake Park with their pair of 77s.
"Jordan, a young junior, did a nice job," Lake Park coach Dan Batka said. "Jake, a senior who has been on our (varsity) squad since he was a freshman, pulled his weight. The big thing for us with this invitational is to use it as a practice round for the conference tournament."