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Knights look for more success

A robust 17 strokes separated first-place Kaneland and rival Wheaton Academy on Tuesday at the Class 2A Sycamore Regional. 

Knights’ coach Mark Meyer expects a greater challenge for Kaneland today at the Class 2A Belvidere North Sectional at Timberpointe Golf Club in Poplar Grove. And it’s not just the task of sending a boys golfer to state for the first time since a second-place finish at the 1999 Class 2A meet by Milo French.

Rather, it’s the real possibility the idyllic conditions at Sycamore, which were perfect for scoring, will be gone. Four Kaneland golfers posted scores in the 70s led by Matt Yonkovich, who finished second with a 1-over-par 72, on the pristine day.

“There are a number of factors that will challenge scoring at sectionals,” Meyer said. “First, it’s a different course. We also expect high winds and cooler weather.”

With the preseason goal of advancing the entire team to state within reach, Yonkovich said Kaneland has to continue its meticulous preparation and keep playing to its strengths.

“We’ll have the hazards, the bunkers and areas where we want to miss or play a shot from mapped out,” said Yonkovich, who added he’s playing the best golf of his career. “The competition is going to get harder, but if we can all go out and post the same scores as regionals we’ll be fine.”

Also at Timberpointe today are Genoa-Kingston and Sycamore. G-K followed its stellar regular season with a second-place finish Tuesday at the Class 2A Stillman Valley Regional. Mason Lucca shot an 83 for a fourth-place finish to lead the Cogs.

The Spartans will send out Curt Buzzard, Curtis Swartzendruber and Ryan Aurand in pursuit of a state qualifier for the first time since 2010.

Three players advanced to sectionals off the second consecutive Hinckley-Big Rock Little 10 title team. Daniel Small, Dirk Shoger and Austin Scott face a stern test that will challenge every club in their bags at today’s Class 1A Westminster Christian Sectional at the Golf Club of Illinois in Algonquin. 

“GCI is a very challenging course,” H-BR coach Rod Jandt said. “There’s a high slope rating. We are going to have to hit a lot of fairways and keep the ball below the hole so we can putt well. There are also deep bunkers so golf course management is going to be a big key for us.” 

DeKalb sophomore Jacob Cook is the lone Barbs golfer to advance to the Class 3A St. Charles East Sectional at St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago. Cook joined the Barbs’ varsity after starting the season with the freshmen/sophomore team and has maximized his even temperament.

He’ll need to stay emotionally centered at a loaded sectional where, just two seasons ago, former DeKalb standout Mason Struthers posted 76 and missed a two-man playoff for the final qualifying spot by two strokes.

“After a bogey-double bogey start, Jacob really preserved and hung in like he’s done all year,” DeKalb coach John Cordes said. “He’s got a great attitude and is even-keeled; it takes a lot to rattle him.”

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