Boys golf: Glenbrook North's O'Regan birdies 18 for regional crown
As he lined up a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Tuesday at Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club in Hoffman Estates, Glenbrook North senior Kevin O'Regan had more motivation than winning the Class 3A Conant regional.
Tied with teammate Jason Gordon at 3-over, O'Regan needed to make the putt to win the regional and avoid a playoff.
He also had his stomach to consider in what had become a long round that found his final group finishing 20 minutes behind the one in front.
"I am hungry," O'Regan said. "I was ready to leave."
O'Regan read the slight left to right break perfectly, draining the putt for a birdie and 1-shot win with a 72. He said Chipolte would be the next stop for the Spartans who followed last week's win over New Trier for a Central Suburban League title by dominating the regional at 300, 20 shots ahead of Glenbrook South.
Both Glenbrooks will return to Poplar Creek next Monday for the Class 3A Conant sectional.
"(Winning conference) gave us a lot of confidence," said O'Regan, a Notre Dame recruit. "We are definitely rolling well right now."
Gordon just missed the individual title after he bogeyed the 450-yard par 4 18th, hitting his approach shot long and not getting up and down. O'Regan followed with another booming drive off the tee, slightly right with just 110 yards to the pin. He caught a break when he avoided being blocked by a tree by about three yards.
O'Regan and Gordon both carded 35s on the front. O'Regan, who shot 5-under to win conference, shook off a double bogey on the first hole with birdies on 5 and 8.
Junior teammates Carl Gustin and Issa Kuwahara also had strong rounds with a 77 and 78, respectively.
Sam Collett's 77 paced runner-up Glenbrook South. He was 6-over through 6 holes before playing the last 12 holes at 1-over.
"Sam is a kid whose perseverance and character and grit just shines," Glenbrook South coach Jeff Paek said. "He does not give up. In golf that's a tough thing to do to keep it together mentally."
Thomas McGurn (80), Matthew Shin (81) and David Ventura (82) joined Collett for Glenbrook South's counting scores.
"We had a rough start and it was fantastic to see them stay in it the whole round," Paek said. "The greens were tough. Really proud of my boys."
Lake Park edged Conant for third, 338-339. In past years it would have moved the Lancers onto regionals.
Instead the Lancers settle for individual qualifier Matthew Lesniak. The senior shot 79, getting off to a good start with a birdie at No. 4. He was even through 5 holes but had 3 double bogeys in playing the final 13 holes 9-over.
Hoffman Estates senior Nathan Meister grabbed the fourth and final individual sectional spot with his 81.
Conant qualified two individuals, senior Nikko Ganas (77) and freshman Nicolas Simon, who pared the final four holes for a 79.
"That's what we want from our players to finish strong," Conant coach Scott Cieplik said. "(Simon) was hitting his tee shots really well. Nikko, I know he wants to shoot a lot better but it's going to be a fresh day (next) Monday and it's anybody's ballgame."