Boys golf: St. Charles North wins first postseason title in seven years
Alex Lilly did not have the best of fortune extricating himself from a bunker in the sudden-death playoff.
"Ultimately the team matters now," Lilly said.
Lilly, a St. Charles North junior, had to settle for runner-up at the Class 3A South Elgin boys golf regional on Monday afternoon at Bartlett Hills to Geneva state veteran Nathan Dalton.
But the North Stars more than compensated for any disappointment Lilly may have felt about his one-hole playoff loss for medalist honors.
St. Charles North had impeccable timing in capturing its first tournament of the season with a razor-thin 322-323 victory over defending champion Geneva.
In the quest for the third and final team spot to the Glenbard West sectional on Monday, St. Charles East was 9 shots better than Batavia with its 333.
It was the North Stars' first postseason championship since 2012.
"I knew guys were capable of it," Lilly said of the team victory. "It was a matter of everybody shooting their own score. I was playing the course alone in my head."
Dalton and Lilly were sent to extra holes after each player finished at 5-over par 76 in regulation.
St. Charles North was the lone program with two players in the 70s as John White was fourth for the North Stars with a 79.
Cole Miller and Evan Suyak had an 83 and 84 to frame the North Stars' narrowest of victories.
"I would be lying if I said we came in expecting this (championship)," St. Charles North coach Justin Moriarty said. "I wanted to shoot in that sub-325 range. (Longtime former coach Rob Prentiss) is a major part of what we do still."
Geneva will seek a second straight state appearance behind Dalton, fellow state returnee Quin McNeive and DuKane Conference leader Zach Padgett.
The latter two players complemented Dalton with 82s.
"I think a lot of guys are familiar with this course, so I don't think the state experience helped," Dalton said. "(My) chipping really helped me on the back nine. I wasn't hitting a lot of greens (in regulation)."
The top two St. Charles East athletes struggled, but David Griggs and Blake Connelly earned coach John Stock a 17th consecutive sectional trip with matching 82s for the Saints.
"All you want to do is have a chance on Monday (at the Village Links sectional in Glen Ellyn)," Stock said. "We'll tee it up with 11 other teams. Nobody expects us to do anything, so we'll see what happens."
Batavia and fifth-place South Elgin (348) combined to advance seven of the 10 at-large sectional qualifiers.
Dilan Patel and Ari Fragen were third and fifth, respectively, for South Elgin and Batavia with their rounds of 78 and 81.
"I have grown up on this course," Patel said. "I knew what I was doing. I know the pins I could go after."
Fragen overcame a ruling that cost him a penalty stroke.
"It happens," Fragen said. "I can't let that get to my head."
Clark Lewis' 92 made the cut for Bartlett.
Streamwood and Elgin had their seasons come to a close.