Girls golf: Ritter, Ohr lead Hersey past Glenbrook North
Rickie Fowler. Brooks Koepka. Justin Rose.
Those were among some of the biggest names in golf who were all within talking distance of Hersey's girls golfers when they watched the final round of the BMW championship two weeks ago.
The Huskies situated themselves midway down the seventh fairway at the Medinah Country Club, just a few yards from where the tee shots were falling. In fact, one drive hit Huskies sophomore Sydney Ohr on a bounce.
"We had the Hersey orange on, and Matt Kuchar came up to us and said 'team!, team'! and we were like 'yes, Hersey's girls golf team!,' " said Hersey senior Kathryn Costello.
The Huskies have used their brush with fame as a motivational tool early in the season.
On Thursday, at their home course, senior Madeline Ritter and Ohr each fired career-best 43s on the par-36 nine-hole Rob Roy Golf Course in Prospect Heights.
Along with Costello (48) and senior Grace Paulette (52), the Huskies won their nonconference dual meet with visiting Glenbrook North 186-197 to run their record to 9-7 overall (including tournaments). They are 3-1 in the Mid-Suburban East.
Ritter parred five straight holes (three through seven) for the first time in her career.
"At times, it looked like she wouldn't get the par," Vesper said. "But then she fought back and sneaked it out. It was fun to watch".
"The pros hit the ball so well," Ritter said of her experience at Medinah. "I just trying to imitate their swing. It feels amazing to get my best score. I just kind of hit the ball well and my putting really helped, too."
Ohr had 4 pars en route to her career low.
"It was just amazing watching the pros," said Ohr, whose previous best score was a 44.
"It was really a great experience to see all the pros and we were practically right next to them on the second shots," Costello said. "They were hitting their drives like three feet from us off the fairway. All of us had a really fun time and it's something we'll never forget."
Huskies coach Dan Vesper said he got the idea from former Hersey coach Bob Murphy, now the assistant principal for student activities at Elk Grove.
"Bob used to take his golfers and he gave me the idea," Vesper said. "It's a wonderful team-bonding experience and very selfishly, I wanted to go out and watch them anyway.
"So it was a great experience for the girls and I took my wife (Brittany) who's eight months pregnant so she toughed it out and walked with us.
"It was a cool experience for girls to have early-season bonding and to see the best golfers in the world. The girls were not only in awe to see the players, but how they could play."
Vesper likes how his Huskies are playing so far.
In fact, he was encouraged when his Huskies fell only 4 strokes short to defending East champion Prospect in a tri-meet earlier in the week.
"That was really awesome because in previous years we've been 20 strokes behind them (Prospect)," Costello said. "I was really proud of the way we did as team (Ritter had a 44, junior Lauren Steininger a 45 and Costello and junior Sarah Ebert scored 46s).
"I told the girls I've never been happier with a loss because if you can play that close to an elite team like Prospect (181-177), in any year, it's an awesome thing to do." Vesper said.
The coach said the Huskies began the season looking to break 200 as a team.
"And we shot a 191 early in the season," he said. "So I thought it was phenomenal to shave off 10 strokes from that with the 181. It was a really good team win to get four girls to shoot that low."