Boys golf: Huntley takes FVC tournament title over Cary-Grove
Prairie Ridge's Charlie Pettrone has taken a strong liking to Randall Oaks Golf Club.
"The greens were beautiful, and the pins were tough but fair," Pettrone said. "They definitely did challenge us today, but everything was in great shape. I love the course right now, and I've always loved Randall Oaks. It's a beautiful course."
Pettrone will like it even more now.
The Wolves junior a shot 3-over-par 74 to win the individual title at the Fox Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday. Pettrone is the second straight golfer from Prairie Ridge to win, joining 2022 graduate Joe Pokonosky.
Pettrone held off Crystal Lake South senior Nate Stewart (76) for first, and Cary-Grove's Joseph Boldt and Maddux Tarasievich were only three shots off the pace with 77s.
Huntley (322) won the team title over Cary-Grove (322) on a fifth-score tiebreaker and took third in the final FVC standings. Prairie Ridge placed third on Thursday with a 325, then Hampshire (328) and Burlington Central (330).
Cary-Grove can clinch the FVC championship Monday with a win over Hampshire in their final conference dual. If Hampshire beats C-G, Prairie Ridge wins the FVC championship.
Pettrone and Tarasievich played in the same group Thursday, which Pettrone described as a friendly rivalry. Pettrone pulled ahead of Tarasievich after making a birdie on the par-5 15th.
"I would say I was 225 [yards] out and I just tried to rip it because I think me and [Tarasievich] were tied at the time," said Pettrone, who had 13 pars in his round. "If I made a birdie there, I knew I would have a chance. Just ripped it outside of the green, chipped to within 10 feet and made the putt. That really helped me close out my round."
Pettrone, who was joined in scoring by teammates' Vincent Ricciardi (79, tied for fifth), JJ Lee (85) and Tommy Trax (87), was hoping his team could pull out the conference title.
Now, the Wolves will have to wait until Monday.
"We thought we could do it," Pettrone said. "We were in the driver's seat and had no losses in our matches. We came in here thinking, 'Let's do it, let's get it done.' We're still proud of our season no matter what."
Nathan Elm (79, tied for fifth), Brendan Busky (81, tied for 10th), Nooa Hakala (81, tied for 10th) and Taig Bhathal (81, tied for 10th) all scored for Huntley, while Erik Pietrzyk (82) and Kyle Kotlarczyk (86) joined Boldt and Tarasievich in scoring for C-G.
Stewart said the course was playing tough Thursday, although he managed to shoot his career-best round at Randall Oaks.
"I hit the ball really well, there were some tough pins and it was windy, as well," Stewart said. "I'm pretty happy with, it was tough out there. This is the hardest it's ever been. There were a lot of pins in difficult spots, it was tough to putt, and the wind is always affecting the ball."
Stewart is hoping to make a long postseason run.
"I had a lot of good drives and a lot of good iron shots to get me going today," Stewart said. "The putting didn't fall, but that's OK. Hopefully I can move on to the sectional, keep grinding, take care of business, keep playing well and make it to state."
Tarasievich said he didn't play his best Thursday, but he's happy for a chance to still win conference outright. He had a double and triple bogey on two of his final four holes, but also had birdies on the par-4 4th and par-5 9th.
"I'm confident that our team will do good on Monday," Tarasievich said. "Days like today happen. We had a penalized stroke and I obviously didn't finish well, but I'm confident going into Monday. As a team, our energy has been really good all year. We all support each other. We don't blame anyone."
Also placing in the top-12 Thursday were Dundee-Crown's Jake Russell (79, tied for fifth), Hampshire's Eric Brown (79, tied for fifth) and Burlington Central's Matthew Kowalik (80, ninth) and CJ Strout (81, tied for 10th).