Girls golf: Smith, Kavanagh lead the way at Palatine Hills
Sophomores Caroline Smith of Barrington and Kelly Kavanagh of Prospect were members of the final foursome to tee off in the Class AA Palatine girls golf regional.
And when they converted their last putts, they were the first two on the leaderboard.
Smith fired a 2-under 70 and Kavanagh was even par at Palatine Hills Golf Course on Wednesday.
They helped lead their teams to first and second place with scores of 307 and 321 while Stevenson (329) locked up the third and final spot for the Barrington sectional on Monday.
Buffalo Grove, led by individual qualifiers Jasmine Yi and Haeri Lee with 77s, took fourth with a score of 341.
Smith and Kavanagh putted up a storm on a day that began with a slight drizzle.
Smith saved pars with 25 and 15-foot putts on the back nine while Kavanagh had only one 3-putt all day (from the fringe on No. 16) to help lift them to their top rounds of the fall.
"They feed off each other," said Barrington coach Jodi Schoeck, whose Fillies won their fourth straight regional and 18th in her 31-year career. "They've known each other for years, not just from Mid-Suburban League competition but from playing in some big tournaments in the summer, and it makes them comfortable. It's nice that they can push each other to do great things."
Junior Nicole Ciskowski had another great round for the Fillies with a 74, followed by freshman teammate Stephanie Su (81) and senior Maggie Hoffman (83).
"It's amazing," Schoeck said. "The girls were so consistent all the way down the line. You never know who's it's going to be from one day to the next. It's just next woman up. Caroline was zoned in today. She was so steady and hitting her targets."
It was Smith's first under-par 18-hole round since last year's 2-under winning score at the MSL meet at Arlington Lakes.
"It was all putting, " Smith said. "I really wanted to make that 25-footer on the first par-3 on the back nine. I felt that really made my round. I've been working on putting and it's been paying off."
Ciskowski would like to have a dropped a few more putts.
"I hit a lot of wedges close, especially on the back nine where I gave myself a lot of opportunities for birdies," said the Wisconsin recruit. "Some of the putts didn't drop but it was a pretty steady day. I hit a lot a lot of fairways.
"We're very excited to go back and try and take advantage of playing on our home course (Makray Memorial) for Monday's sectional."
Prospect and Stevenson will join the Fillies at Makray.
"We're looking forward to our opportunity at Makray and we'll try to have as much fun as we can" said Prospect coach Jim Hamann, whose has advanced a teams to sectional play for the 12th time in his 13 season. "We played really well and we'll be ready on Monday to give it our best shot as always."
Kavanagh was hitting top shots all day, as she enjoyed her finest high school round.
"It was a good day," she said. "I had enough birdies to make up for the bogeys. My putting was the best it's been all season and that helped my score a lot."
"Kelly was super steady and confident," Hamann said. "We had a very good game plan for the course and she was a machine all day. We've been working really hard on her putting and that showed up today.
"Kelly's ball-striking is toward the top of the state and as I've said before, once we get her putting going she can win any tournament she plays in."
Junior Emily Fleming came in with a 79 while Amanda Stein and Emma Gries each carded 85s.
"Emily played really well after a couple of hiccups on the front nine," Hamann said. "She had four 3-putts on the front nine and then played really well on the back. We were also pretty happy with Emma Gries' play today. She's our No. 6 and came out confident and followed the game plan."
Stevenson freshman Kelly Dong followed up her 77 in last week's conference meet with the same score on Wednesday.
Her regional debut helped advance the Patriots to their first team sectional berth in coach Emma Deegan's three seasons in charge.
"Honestly, my long game today was really bad," Dong said. "I feel like my short game was pretty good. It wasn't amazing because I still 3-putted three times on the front nine. But this was a goal for me, to advance to the sectional."
Deegan knew the competition would be tough.
"It wasn't an easy regional," she said. "But we played all these teams through the course of the season and we've had close matches. We knew we had to shoot some low rounds if we wanted to get to the sectional and the girls did what we asked of them."
Following Dong were Joyce Bai (81), Olivia Stomberg (85) and Katherine Hannahs (86).
"Kelly has consistency been in the 70s the last few weeks and I'm very proud of her as a freshman," Deegan said. "She just stayed loose with her putting and chipping. She struggled off the tee a little but she is very good at her short game and she works at it."
Deegan credited her seniors (Stomberg and Hannahs) with stepping up.
"Both of them had experience playing in a regional so it was awesome to see them do what they did," she said. " "I'm glad they wet out and did their job.
"Joyce (Bai) got off to a rough start in her round but she is she is a sophomore and now she has great experience and has her team behind her and I think it will be easier for her from here on out."
No one made it look easier than Adrienne Rohwedder on the par- 5, No. 6 hole.
The Wheeling junior lofted a 53-yard pitching wedge into the hole for an eagle.
Just one week earlier, Wildcats coach Peggy Ellsworth commented about the Rohwedder's terrific short game.
'"My short game was good," said Rohwedder, who became the first Wildcat in program history to advance to the state tournament last fall. "My approach shots were the most consistent part of my game today."
Rohwedder's 77 put her in a five-way tie for fourth place along with Dong, Deerfield's Elyse Emerzian, Lee, and Yi, who shot a 72 at the regional last year.
"It was a little bit of a struggle today but I came back on the back nine," said Yi, who hopes to commit to a collegiate golf program after the season. "I was even through the back nine until the last hole when I had a 2-putt with a chip."
Barrington will be trying for a second straight trip to the state finals on Monday.
"Makray is a tough track but we're going to do out best to get out of there," Schoeck said. "At least we know the course, especially the front side. I'm so grateful that Don (Habjan, director of golf operations) is willing to let us go out and host it.
"This was a tough regional today with really great teams, coaches, players and amazing performances."
Among the other area players advancing to the sectional as individuals who were not on a qualifying team are Palatine senior Jenny Myslinski (83) and Wheeling sophomore Symantha Rohwedder.
It is Myslinski's third straight trip to the sectional.