Girls golf: Duan delivers, Stevenson repeats as NSC champs

 
 
Updated 9/26/2018 6:17 PM

Kelly Dong is a good golfer and an honest golfer.

A year ago at the North Suburban Conference tournament, the then-freshman talked about an eighth-grader who was better than her and all of her Stevenson teammates. The Patriots, mind you, had just won the conference championship after putting together an undefeated regular season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

On Wednesday at Bonnie Brook Golf Course, Emily Duan delivered, as she has all season for Stevenson.

The freshman Duan fired a 2-over-par 74 to earn medalist honors, Dong placed second with a 76, and Stevenson successfully defended its NSC title with a 309. The Patriots finished comfortably ahead of runner-up Lake Zurich (351), which edged Lake Forest (352). Host Warren (372) was fourth, despite competing without sophomore No. 1 Chloe Morrissey, who had a prior commitment.

Duan shot a 37 on both the front and back nines on a cool day in Waukegan.

"Her long game is really good," Dong said. "She hits her drives really straight, and her irons are really accurate."

Duan's mental game is equally stellar.

"I've never seen her cry or anything," Dong said with a laugh. "It's actually surprising."

And to think Duan has been playing the game for only about five years.

"My mom just wanted me out of the house," joked Duan, who didn't turn 14 until August. "She asked my dad to take us golfing. ... I remember being in a group lesson with a boy. It was just me and him."

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Duan's play this season has been the envy of both girls and boys. She shot a 4-under 32 at Deerpath earlier this month, setting a record for a Stevenson player in an away match. Her round Wednesday included a pair of birdies -- she drove the green on the par-4 11th -- and was complemented by Dong's runner-up effort, Sophia Zhang's 78 (fourth) and Joyce Bai's 81 (fifth). The Patriots didn't even count Julia Yoo's 82, which was good for sixth place.

Stevenson completed an 8-0 regular season on Monday, defeating host Deerfield for its 24th straight win dating back to the 2016 season.

"I love my team," Duan said. "It's so fun."

Lake Zurich's Bryanna Hogan was third with a 77. The sophomore has been the Bears' No. 1 the last two seasons but has taken her game to another level this year.

"I feel like I've really peaked this year in how I've been playing," Hogan said. "My team has just been a huge support. That really helps. I've been having a really good time."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hogan's highlights included an eagle 2 on the par-4 11th. She hit a 3-wood just short of the green and sank about a 50-footer.

Runner-up Lake Zurich also received medal-winning rounds from Grace Loverde (86, eighth) and Kiana Pouyat (92, 12th). The Bears counted Taylor Schwab's 96, as well.

Lake Forest, which had all seven of its golfers earn a top-22 medal, was led by Isabella Martino (86, seventh), Clare Green (87, ninth) and Gianna Martino (87, 10th).

Warren's Morrissey was competing in a First Tee pro-am event at Pebble Beach in California. The sophomore is expected back for next Wednesday's Antioch regional at Shepherd's Crook. Erika Baker shot an 89 (11th) to lead the Blue Devils, who also counted 94s from Sydney Bornhorst (19th) and Danielle Guzman (20th) and a 95 from Amanda Mietus, all of whom medaled.

"Solid day," Warren coach Leigh Ann Mondrawickas-Boncher said. "We struggle here from time to time, and so I'm satisfied with their scores. They did well."

Fifth-place Libertyville (378) was paced by 93s from Payton DeBruler (15th) and Maggie Burnetti (18th).

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