Mike Stokes 2017-09-09 07:28:05
Chicagoland’s high school golfers tee up for a shot at glory SENIORS RULED THE boys’ IHSA Class 3A state championship last year—eight of the top 10 spots on the leaderboard were occupied by upperclassmen, clearing the path for a new crop of prep golfers to etch their names in state history. Ultimately, the greatest battle among the boys will be between five-time defending champions Hinsdale Central and four-time runner-up New Trier. In contrast, the girls’ tournament saw only two of the top 10 spots in the Class 2A championship held by seniors last year, leading to the potential for a host of rivalries to be renewed downstate this October. The team competition is wide open with Lincoln Way Central, New Trier and St. Charles North among those that had most of their top golfers return. The following are 10 of the area’s top golfers to watch as they make their way to the state tournament this season: LUKE ARMBRUST, WHEATON The St. Francis senior returns to action as the reigning Class 2A boys champion, and he enters the season well prepared to defend his title. He has carded a string of top-10 finishes in tournaments this year, including in the Illinois State Junior Amateur Championship at Barrington’s Makray Memorial Golf Club, AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior, and AJGA Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior in Kentucky. Armbrust also battled top competition this summer at the AJGA Memorial Junior in Ohio, Otter Creek Junior Championship in Indiana and the Junior at Penn State in Pennsylvania, finishing in the Top 25 in each. LAUREN BEAUDREAU, LEMONT Beaudreau, a Benet Academy junior, will be looking to avenge last year’s runner-up showing in the state tournament, where she finished one stroke behind Lincoln Way Central’s Grace Curran. Bound for Notre Dame in 2019, Beaudreu is Golfweek’s top-ranked junior girl golfer in Illinois (52nd nationally), and she tied for sixth at the Girls Junior PGA Championship in Missouri. In AJGA competition this year, Beaudreau has also tallied top-10 finishes in the Under Armour Hunter Mahan Championship in Texas, Scott Robertson Memorial Championship in Virginia and Otter Creek Junior Championship in Indiana. BRIANNE BOLDEN, MOKENA This junior is half of Lincoln Way Central’s dynamic duo (with Grace Curran). During a productive spring, she won the MAJGT Sanctuary Open in New Lenox and the DuPage County Junior Classic at Maple Meadows Golf Course in Wood Dale. She also carded a pair of third-place finishes in MAJGT events, including the University of Illinois Open at Stone Creek Golf Club in Urbana and the Fox Bend Open in Oswego. Bolden. The second-ranked girl in Illinois, according to Golfweek’s Junior Rankings, kept her momentum through the summer by tallying top-10 finishes in AJGA national competition at the Otter Creek Junior Championship in Indiana and Under Armour Gary Woodland Championship in Kansas, as well as a top-20 finish at the AJGA City of London Junior Championship in Kentucky. Bolden finished 10th at last year’s state tournament, but look for her to improve on that in October. GRACE CURRAN, NEW LENOX It’s been a bittersweet year for the Lincoln Way Central junior, who has endured a run of second-place tournament finishes, including in the IJGA-CDGA Junior Amateur at Geneva’s Mill Creek Golf Club, MAJGT Sanctuary Open at Sanctuary Golf Course in New Lenox and Medinah Country Shrine Junior Invitational. Even after winning the stroke-play qualifier portion of the Chick Evans Junior Amateur Championship at Itasca Country Club by a commanding eight shots, she was defeated in the first round by incoming New Trier freshman Audrey Tir. Nationally, Curran took eighth at the Under Armour Gary Woodland Championship in Kansas and tied for 11th at the AJGA Otter Creek Junior Championship in Indiana. Curran will be eager to defend her Class 2A state championship and return to the top spot on the leaderboard. MAX FARLEY, ORLAND PARK Don’t expect a sophomore slump from Sandburg High School’s Farley. After emerging as the top-shooting freshman in the state tournament last year, Farley spent his summer vacation carding a pair of local top-20 finishes at the Illinois State Junior Amateur Championship at Makray Memorial Golf Club in Barrington and the DuPage County Junior Classic at West Chicago’s Prairie Landing Golf Club. In national competition, Farley placed 13th at the AJGA Preview at Innisbrook in Florida and tied for 16th at the AJGA Junior All-Star at Calumet Country Club in Homewood. MEGAN FURTNEY, SOUTH ELGIN A member of the 2016 ACDS Junior All-Star Team (the 2017 team had not been named at press time), the St. Charles North junior is one of the top-ranked junior girl golfers in Illinois and one of only 40 girls worldwide to compete in the elite ANA Junior Inspiration in California. In national competition, Furtney placed second in the AJGA Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands in Michigan and competed in the Annika Invitational in Florida. After finishing fifth and ninth in the Class 2A state championship as a freshman and sophomore, respectively, Furtney is poised to make a run at the state title. TYLER ISENHART, GENEVA The third-ranked junior boys golfer in Illinois, according to Golfweek, this Geneva junior finished second in the Illinois State Junior Amateur Championship at Barrington’s Makray Memorial Golf Club to the state’s top-ranked junior golfer, University of Illinois freshman Brendan O’Reilly. On a national stage in AJGA tournaments this year, Isenhart placed second at the Junior All-Star at Lost Springs in Arkansas, sixth at The Memorial Junior in Ohio and in the top 20 at Otter Creek Junior Championship in Indiana. This fall, Isenhart will be focused on improving on his third-place finish at last year’s Class 3A championship. JOSH LUNDMARK, HINSDALE Lundmark, a junior at Hinsdale Central, had a productive summer, placing seventh at the MAJGT Classic at the Highlands of Elgin and tying for sixth at the Second City Classic at Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood. In April, Lundmark tallied a fourth-place tie in the MAJGT Heritage Bluffs Open at Channahon, and he finished in the top 20 at the AJGA Preview at Innisbrook in Florida. This fall, Lundmark will lead the Red Devils in their quest to deliver a sixth consecutive Class 3A team title while looking to move up the leaderboard from his 11th-place individual finish last year. MOLLY LYNE, CARY During her freshman campaign at Crystal Lake Central last year, Lyne placed third in the Class 2A tournament after leading the field following the first round at 1-under par. Since then, Lyne has been busy honing her game in hopes of finishing the second round atop the leaderboard. In MAJGT competition, Lyne carded three top-10 finishes, in the Kenosha Classic in Wisconsin, Sanctuary Open in New Lenox and Heritage Bluffs Open in Channahon. She notched top-20 finishes in the Shepherd’s Crook Open in Zion, Second City Open at Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood, DuPage County Junior Classic at Prairie Landing Golf Club in West Chicago and MAJGT Championship at Geneva National in Wisconsin. She also tied for fifth at the Chick Evans Junior Amateur Championship at Itasca Country Club. All of this competition will make Lyne one of the most experienced sophomore golfers on the links this season. MAC MCCLEAR, HINSDALE Another talented Hinsdale Central junior, McClear has been a top-10 fixture in tournaments this year, including the Illinois State Junior Amateur Championship at Barrington’s Makray Memorial Golf Club, AJGA Judie Oppenheimer Memorial Junior in South Carolina, DuPage County Junior Classic at West Chicago’s Prairie Landing Golf Club and Medinah Country Shrine Junior Invitational. McClear placed third in the MAJGT Open in at Heritage Bluffs Golf Course in Channahon, and he took second at the AJGA Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands in Michigan with a solid three-day score 215 (72- 71-72). All of this bodes well for the Red Devils and McClear as they set their sites on a return to the state tournament this fall. STATE TOURNAMENT INFORMATION The Illinois girls high school Class 2A tournament will take place near Decatur at the Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth, Ill.; the Class 1A tournament will be played at the Red Tail Run Golf Course in Decatur. The Illinois boys high school Class 3A tournament will be held at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington; the Class 2A tournament will be staged at Illinois State University’s Weibring Golf Club in Normal; the Class 1A tournament take place at the Prairie Vista Golf Course in Bloomington. All tournaments are scheduled for Oct. 13-14.
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