Several local golfers came agonizingly close to advancing to state in Monday’s IHSA Class 1A boys sectional competition at Elliot Golf Course in Rockford.
Amboy-LaMoille’s Caleb Sarff and Bureau Valley’s Colton Novotny and Spencer Marquez all came in with solid 79s, but fell two strokes short. Two golfers shot 77s to advance as the lowest score to advance.
“Seventy-seven, that’s an incredible score,” said Sarff, a LaMoille senior. “Props to the guys that did it. I really thought a 79 would be good enough today. The conditions were so beautiful. The weather was perfect. There was no wind. It’s just how the cards fell today. It’s really heartbreaking.”
Marquez and Novotny each scored double-bogey sixes on their final hole of the day, the 372-yard, par-4 ninth hole.
A bad drive led to trouble for Marquez, and he eventually missed a 4-footer for bogey.
Novotny faced a side hill 4-footer for his par, and he noted it broke about three feet. He missed that putt, as well as a comebacker for bogey.
“It was my hardest putt of the day, for sure,” Novotny said of his par miss. “It was a stinger, and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”
Novotny and Marquez led Bureau Valley to a solid 335 team score in its first sectional appearance, with Trent DeVenney (87) and Corbin Walsh (90) also counting toward that total.
“Colton and Spencer were disappointed in falling a bit short, but they played well. All the boys played pretty well all day. All in all, it was a great year for Storm golf,” first-year BV head coach Jack Gustafson said.
St. Bede’s John Potthoff shot a 79 and Peyton Pyszka came in at 81.
Princeton junior Ian Legner carded an 89. While coach Will Gross said Legner struggled on his greens on his first nine holes (49), he came back strong on the second (40).
“I was very proud to watch him give it his all until the final putt. That speaks volumes for his character and his drive,” Gross said.
Putnam County (310) made a return trip to state, coming in as runner-up to Three Rivers Conference champ Riverdale (300) with Rockford Christian (313) taking third. Ian Roach and Caleb Dzierzynski shared team honors at 75.
Winnebago’s Marcus Smith and Riverdale’s Tyler Bussert tied for the low score with 4-under-par 68s. Smith birdied the first playoff hole to earn medalist honors.
At Metamora: Princeton shot a solid 390 to place seventh in Monday’s sectional at Metamora Fields Golf Club. Junior Kelley VanDenBussche led the Tigresses with a 93 and junior newcomer Adrienne Snethen added a 94. Also scoring for PHS were Becky Hughes (100) and Kiley Schenck (103) with Emily Hartman adding a 108 and Jade Loftus a 116.
“This was the highest finish that we have ever had under my reign as head coach and could not be prouder of these girls and our entire coaching staff,” PHS coach Will Gross said. “We will return five starters next year, so I feel that playing so well and being right there will just drive us as a team to improve and be even more focused next season.”
Putnam County (359) placed fifth as a team with sophomore Ali Ciucci (87) coming up one stroke short in a playoff for the final qualifying berth.
For St. Bede, Andi Cattani had a 100 and Emily Fess a 122.
Bureau Valley freshman Mackenzie Law shot a 107.
Bloomington Central Catholic (324) was sectional champion and Pontiac junior Ali Schrock was medalist at 67.
Brian Weidman of Shaw media Service and BCR Sports Editor Kevin Hieronymus contributed to this article.