Girls golf: St. Charles North conquers Phillips Park once again

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSt. Charles North's Catie Nekola during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSt. Charles North's Catie Nekola during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSt. Charles East's Emily Charles during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSt. Charles East's Emily Charles during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comWheaton North's Bridget Craig during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comWheaton North's Bridget Craig during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comLake Park's Madison Place during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comLake Park's Madison Place during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSt. Charles East's Emily Charles during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSt. Charles East's Emily Charles during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comLake Park's Madison Place during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comLake Park's Madison Place during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comLake Park's Marisa Lerario during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comLake Park's Marisa Lerario during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSt. Charles East's Allis Edgar during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comSt. Charles East's Allis Edgar during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comWheaton North's Gabrielle Langlois during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comWheaton North's Gabrielle Langlois during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comWheaton North's Gabrielle Langlois during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comWheaton North's Gabrielle Langlois during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comGlenbard North's Molly Reeder during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comGlenbard North's Molly Reeder during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comGeneva's Reagan Krohe during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comGeneva's Reagan Krohe during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comBatavia's Lauren Sudler during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comBatavia's Lauren Sudler during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comGeneva's Reagan Krohe during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comGeneva's Reagan Krohe during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comWheaton Warrenville South's Grace Cavin during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comWheaton Warrenville South's Grace Cavin during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

  • Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comGlenbard North's Molly Reeder during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

    Brian Hill/bhill@dailyherald.comGlenbard North's Molly Reeder during the DuKane Conference girls golf meet Tuesday September 21, 2021 in Aurora at Phillips Park Golf Course.

 
By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 9/21/2021 7:15 PM

Catie Nekola will be forever linked to St. Charles North athletic history.

The last link to the North Stars' 2018 Class 2A girls golf state championship -- the first of its kind for any sport or either gender at the school -- Nekola returned to her familiar league hunting grounds on Tuesday morning.

 

The South Dakota-bound senior missed out on a potential individual championship with an uncharacteristic bogey on her closing hole, a par-5, but Nekola received a far greater consolation prize.

The North Stars, behind the 2-under 70 Nekola authored at Phillips Park in Aurora, remained the only DuKane Conference champion in the four-year history of the league with a razor-thin 335-336 victory over St. Charles East.

Lake Park was third (346) and Wheaton North (359) was fourth, followed by Wheaton Warrenville South (369), Batavia (373), Geneva (380) and Glenbard North (397).

Nekola had three birdies on each nine; fellow senior Aleksa Gizewicz complemented Nekola with a fourth-place 77, while Caitlin Scanlon and Isabella Garza had matching 94s to secure the North Stars' latest conference championship.

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"We were pretty excited to come into this because St. Charles North is known to play pretty well at conference," Nekola said. "We're ecstatic now. I was able to hit shots off the tee that got me to good wedge distances (to set up birdie opportunities)."

"The best part of my game was definitely my driver," Gizewicz said. "That definitely carried my game. I believed in my team that we could pull it off."

With its 15 tournament points, St. Charles North defeated St. Charles East, which entered in a first-place tie with Lake Park, 25-24 in the season-long race.

"Yes, we wanted to walk away conference champions, but we are preparing to get better for the (South Elgin) regional," St. Charles East coach Jarod Gutesha said. "The conference tournament is kind of the beginning of the golf postseason. That's where our mindset will be."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Saints' Emily Charles and Abby Buechele finished tied for fifth and seventh with their respective rounds of 78 and 81.

"We had this happen at the regional last year," Charles said of the team verdict. "It's nothing new but it's still heartbreaking."

Geneva senior Reese Clark, headed to High Point, a liberal arts Division I program in North Carolina, one-upped Nekola in more ways than one to win the individual title.

Clark recorded seven holes in the red to flavor her 3-under 69 individual championship.

"I had a feeling it would come down to me and Catie, just because we have both played here the last four years," Clark said. "(Phillips') yardage is short, which is nice, but you are also hitting a lot of wedge shots. Probably half of (my birdie putts) were 15 feet and closer, which to me is decently close."

Clark played Phillips' traditional back nine -- not her inward half due to the shotgun start -- in a blistering 5-under 31.

Nekola needed par on No. 18 to force a playoff but took an always costly 6 on the par-5.

"I didn't hit my second shot the way I wanted to," Nekola said.

Lake Park was seeking its first conference championship since the program was founded in 1994.

The Lancers' four contributing athletes responded late but had to settle for third in both the tournament and final league standings.

Gia Breslin tied the Saints' Buechele for seventh with her team-best 81; Madison Place and Marisa Lerario secured the final two top-10 conference places for Lake Park with scores of 85 and 86.

"St. Charles East and St. Charles North are both very competitive schools," Lake Park coach Jeff Henrikson said. "Our conference, the DuKane Conference, is pretty tough. No shame in taking third. Our girls battled."

The Lancers will seek a second regional championship in the last three years a week from Thursday at Prospect.

"I think we have a chance to win a regional," Henrikson said. "We want to qualify to state as a team. We have never done that before."

"We made a big stride to get here," Breslin said. "To be in first place coming into conference was pretty cool. Everything was working well for me today. I didn't really hit any bad shots."

Wheaton North, like St. Charles North, needed to win the tournament outright to have a chance at the overall title.

The Falcons' sophomore standout, Bridget Craig, fresh off a sizzling 69 in her last tournament round at Glendale Lakes, was solo third with a 75.

Craig, playing in the lead pairing, jump-started her round at the turn with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 9 and 10.

"It felt really good to get me through the back nine," Craig said of her sole birdies.

"I would have liked to have saved one or two more shots. It's crazy how fast (the regular season) went. I think my year is going extremely well, much better than I thought it would."

Nicole McGuire is another underclassman manning the top spot in the lineup.

The Glenbard North sophomore had a career-low 78 to match Charles' fifth-place finish.

"My putter was very good," McGuire said. "I am just proud I kept my composure and finished well. I had a bunch of one-putts that really kept me in it."

Campbell Bastian had a 90 to pace fifth-place WW South.

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