Boys golf: Isenhart repeats 3rd-place finish

By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 10/14/2017 10:09 PM

BLOOMINGTON -- For Tyler Isenhart the final shot of his junior year proved to be one for the scrapbook.

"I think that was probably the biggest shot I have ever hit," Isenhart said of his holed-out 45-foot bunker shot on the last hole of the Class 3A boys golf state tournament Saturday at the Den at Fox Creek.

The Geneva junior finished at level-par 144 for the two-day tournament as his closing 71 made up for a late dropped stroke in first-round play on Friday.

Isenhart was well aware of the magnitude of his closing birdie for a 1-under 71.

"I knew I had a good chance to maybe get in a playoff," Isenhart said.

But the Vikings' three-year leader found himself in familiar territory after Stevenson junior Jackson Bussel and Neuqua Valley senior Jack Vercautren played a combined 6-under on their inward nine at the Arnold Palmer layout.

The only two players to finish in the red for both days, Bussel (141) nipped Vercautren by a stroke for the individual championship.

For the second straight year Isenhart had to settle for a third-place tie, this time with Edwardsville senior Ben Tyrrell, who had a Friday ace.

"I really wasn't thinking about making (the bunker shot)," Isenhart said. "I was trying to get up and down to save par. Usually my bunker play is pretty solid. It went in and was really exciting."

Isenhart and fellow junior Jack McDonald have been twin anchors for Geneva qualifying for three consecutive team state tournaments.

The Vikings also had a similar outcome as a team from a year ago with their seventh-place finish.

Geneva had almost identical two-day scores of 308 and 309.

Hinsdale Central was once again the best in the land, displaying its remarkable depth -- six scores of 78 or better on Saturday -- to deny Lake Forest, 603-605, for a monumental achievement in the sport.

"To win (a state championship) for a sixth straight time is an awesome accomplishment," St. Charles East coach John Stock said.

McDonald, like Isenhart, playing in a third consecutive state championship, had rounds of 75 and 77 this weekend.

"I put myself in a spot to score," McDonald said. "We struggled this year, until the postseason -- conference, regional and sectional. We peaked at the right time."

Nick Geen (78) and Teegan Ebel (82) were the other contributing scorers for Geneva during second-round action.

Mason Meadows and Connor King had their St. Charles East careers come to a close.

Meadows had 4 birdies in crafting a second-day 73 for a 151 total. King, making a second straight appearance, had a 78 for his final round.

"I think (my overall score) proved that I can (play at the next level)," King said.

"That was a nice way to end (my career)," King said.

Ryan Vanderway was also making the second of back-to-back appearances.

The West Aurora junior had a cumulative 154 (76-78).

"I'm a little disappointed with the scores overall," Vanderway said. "I think I caught a lot of bad breaks. Next year the course owes me a few."

Jacobs' Garrett Tighe (tied for 14th at 149) had three dropped shots on his last two holes to cost him a potential all-state performance.

At the Class 2A tournament in Normal, Will Marshall returned from a one-year hiatus with a vengeance for Kaneland.

Two years removed from a fourth-place finish, Marshall was solo fifth with a Friday 74 and final-round level-par 71 (145).

Kaneland newcomer Ryan Milton had a 75 Saturday to finish in the top 20.

"It was a nice redemption for Will," Kaneland coach Mark Meyer said of his star junior, who missed the state cut last year. "(Milton) was the top freshman in the field."

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