SYCAMORE – Kaneland golfer Luke Kreiter had mixed feelings last season after his team finished in sixth place at the Class 2A Burlington Central Regional.
Kreiter wanted to feel excited for teammate Matt Yonkovich, who qualified for the sectional meet individually, but he couldn’t stifle his disappointment that his team missed out on qualifying by 16 shots. His team was just too uncomfortable playing on a big stage.
“It was split emotions because you knew your season was over, but you’re obviously happy that your teammate made it,” the senior said. “We just caught a bad draw and we came in a little nervous … We pushed too hard and we ended up coming up just short.”
Kreiter had no such dilemma Tuesday at the Class 2A Sycamore regional at the Sycamore Golf Club, when Yonkovich finished second overall to lead a much more confident Kaneland team to a regional championship.
The Knights had three other golfers finish in the 70’s, including Kreiter, junior Brody Kuhar and Sean Glennon, to finish with a score of 302, beating second-place Wheaton Academy by 17 strokes.
“We knew that we were around the top,” said Kreiter, who finished second on the team with a score of 75. “We’ve kind of fed off of each other all year. We know that if we’re doing bad, someone is going to pick us up. You know that you don’t have to have the best week because we know that we have a deep enough team.”
Sycamore finished fourth at the meet with a score of 323, just one shot out of a sectional qualifying spot. Curt Buzzard tied with Kreiter to finish fourth overall and qualified as an individual for the sectional meet along with teammates Curtis Swartzendruber and Ryan Aurand.
“It was disappointing, but it happens,” Buzzard said. “I wish we went as a team, but I’m glad we have some representatives from our school going.”
The Knights thought they might suffer the same fate early on. Glennon struggled on the front nine, along with a few of his teammates, but the senior shot nine shots better on the back nine.
“I just had to calm down, and I just started playing more shots and thinking more,” Glennon said. “My heart was beating pretty badly on hole one. I was pretty nervous.”
The Knights said all season their goal was to qualify for the state meet, even though they failed to make it out of the regional in 2011.
After Tuesday’s performance, that goal doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
“We thought we had a good shot at making it down to state,” Glennon said. “If we do what we did today, we have a pretty good chance.”
The sectional meet is Monday at Timber Point Golf Club in Poplar Grove. The sectional is hosted by Belvidere North.