Boys golf: Hole-in-one puts exclamation point on great state weekend for Conant's Simon
What a tremendous postseason it's been for Conant golfer Nicolas Simon.
The sophomore won the Mid-Suburban League conference tournament, took medalist honors at the Addison Trail regional and fired a 71 at the Lyons sectional to advance to state.
And at the Class 3A state tournament at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington, Simon put a final exclamation point on the outstanding run in the playoffs by shooting a 2-day total of 142, good for fifth place individually.
Quite an accomplishment for a player who still has two varsity seasons remaining.
Simon followed up a Friday round of 70 with a 72 on Saturday.
"I have high expectations," said Simon. "I played really well over the summer, and I kind of proved to myself and to a lot of other people that I could compete against some really great competition.
"Yesterday I made quite a few more putts, and today I hit a lot of good iron shots -- but some of the putts just weren't falling."
Simon capped his remarkable tourney Saturday with a hole-in-one on the 17th hole, followed by a birdie on the 18th.
He hit a 9-iron from 170 yards for the ace on 17, and from his vantage point on the tee he was able to observe it "just go right in the hole."
"Everybody just went crazy," added Simon. "This will be a really great memory."
Glenbrook North won the team championship with a score of 293, while Spartans golfer Jason Gordon earned medalist honors with a 137.
Barrington (308) finished fifth in the team race, while Prospect (322) was eighth.
Dylan Dunne led the Broncos with a 144 overall (8th place individually), Owen Naughton finished at 153, while Walker Grelle and Drew Schauenberg carded 155s over the weekend.
For the Knights, counting scores were Luke Kruger (151), Daniel Raupp (155), Patrick Raupp (155) and Will Salzmann (158).
Dori Lee of Buffalo Grove fired a stellar 70 on the final day, finishing with an aggregate total of 145 to close out his prep career with a 12th-place state finish.
Lee will enroll in Loyola next year to major in business and play on the Ramblers' golf team.
"He had a great day," said Bison coach Pete Duffer. "He gave himself some chances at eagle today, and had a few nice birdie putts, which was key. He played very well.
"Dori is by far the best player I've ever coached, I know people talk a lot about Doug Ghim (a current golfer on the pro tour), but he only played with us for a year. He was great individually, but Dori has helped the entire team and program, showing everyone the benefits of working hard in the off season. He brings all that back with some fun and socializing to the high school golf season, which has helped tremendously."
Lee carded a birdie on the 18th Saturday.
"That was really cool, honestly," said Lee. "At the tee (on the 18th) I was thinking, 'this is the final hole of my high school career', and I wanted to close it out strong. That final putt, a 12-footer down the hill, was electrifying.
"Now I'm going to keep training, work on my game, play in some bigger tournaments over the summer to prepare myself for college golf."
In the Class 2A finals at Wiebring Golf Club in Normal, senior Dylan Josephson of Vernon Hills had 3 birdies en route to a final round 73 and a 2-day total of 150, good for 21st place.
St. Ignatius won the 2A team title, while Cy Norman of Benton was medalist at 134.
Also excelling were Charlie Bullock of St. Viator (153), Dominic Lucchesi from Grayslake Central (157), David Koziol of St. Viator (157) and Creighton Campbell from Grayslake North (158).
For Josephson of the Cougars, it was a culmination of a long 4-year process that led him to finish with an outstanding placement at the final tournament of the year.
"My freshman year was not the best," said Josephson. "It took a long way to get here. Today I didn't have the best start, but I kept grinding.
"I was talking to my coach (Shawn Healey) the entire round today about how crazy it was that it was my last high school tournament."
The senior credits a former Vernon Hills alum, Rohan Vasudeva, with mentoring him and guiding him to a successful prep career.
"He practiced with me every day," said Josephson, "and Rohan taught me how to practice with purpose. Every single day I touched a golf club I continued to get better, and I kept playing every single day."