Boys golf: Metea Valley denies Waubonsie 4th straight city title

 
By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/15/2021 9:56 PM

Aman Shah returned to his former golf layout in style on Wednesday at Phillips Park.

It was a more mundane afternoon for fellow senior Arjun Vyas.

 

"Coming back here brought back a lot of memories," Shah said of shooting a level-par 71 to finish runner-up at the City of Lights tournament. "This was my first home course, back in elementary school."

"It was a pretty boring day," Vyas offered after his third-place 72.

But Metea Valley would need every stroke saver its top-two players could muster -- and then some -- to hold off Waubonsie Valley.

Kyle Bucher and Eli Oakes fired matching 75s to complement the Shah and Vyas anchor scores as the Mustangs denied a determined Waubonsie Valley crew 293-294.

The Mustangs' razor-thin victory ended the Warriors' three-year Aurora boys golf city title run.

Marmion had an admirable 307 to finish third; West Aurora (343), IMSA (361), Aurora Central Catholic (374) and Aurora Christian (398) rounded out the field as East Aurora had only three players.

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"All the team members showed up," Shah said. "It just wasn't a one-man effort."

"I can't really be upset (with my score)," Vyas said. "My putts (for birdie) were just missing. But that's going to happen. Nothing really dropped from outside six feet."

Oakes was awarded fifth on a scorecard tiebreaker.

It was the fifth consecutive tournament title for Metea Valley.

It is shaping up as a historic season for Metea Valley. The Mustangs swept the table in DuPage Valley Conference play during regular-season play.

Metea Valley will look for the league knockout blow on Wednesday in Bristol, and the IHSA confirmed the Mustangs will host a Class 3A regional the following week at Orchard Valley.

"We have a group of kids who have played varsity golf for a while," Metea Valley coach Pat Brusveen said. "We see Waubonsie seemingly every other day. The difference was like any other thing in golf, a shot here or there."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Salil Khanduja has emerged as one of the top underclassmen in the entire state.

The Waubonsie Valley sophomore was painting his city masterpiece with red as his favored color.

Khanduja fashioned five birdies to more than compensate for one dropped shot on each nine.

The Warriors' No. 1 player was the individual city champion with his resulting 3-under 68.

Khanduja rode a familiar horse to author the low round.

"The ball-striking has been as good as possible," Khanduja said. "The putter was hot today. I switched from the old trusty putter I had to a new one. Two-ninety-four is a great score. Props to Metea. I would say it was more they beat us than we lost."

Eric Flodberg, the Warriors' coach who received equally commendable play from Kenton Esch (75), Arjun Iyengar (75) and Neil Gupta (76), was far from crestfallen with the loss.

"We're very happy with the way we finished today," Flodberg said. "Metea is an unbelievable program this year. For us to be within one stroke of them is outstanding."

Marmion had four scores under 80 as well.

Evan Paganelis' 75 was the Cadets' benchmark, but freshman Regan Konen, Charlie Burke and Dominic Howard were in tight proximity with a 76, 77 and 79.

Konen found his game at the turn in coming home on his inward-nine holes with a level-par 36.

"I struggled on the front nine," Konen said. "The course was in good shape and running. It was definitely playing harder than I thought it would. I struck the ball better on the back. I am happy (with my overall game) right now but definitely could fix some things."

West Aurora had its finest 18-hole score of the season in preparation of its conference tournament.

"It's the first time all year we have had all four scores under 90," West Aurora coach John Proczo said.

Andrew Bacarella was the Blackhawks' low man with an 83.

Kyle Hughes' 84 was next in line, with Gracin Bacarella and Evan Wicks at 87 and 89.

"Everything was pretty solid," Andrew Bacarella said. "I think it's going to help moving into conference and regionals."

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