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GOLF INSIDER: Senior Cook leads 'consistent' Barbs

Spotlight on...

Austin Freeman, fr., DeKalb,

Every misstep had an answer when Freeman fired off an even-par 36 on Wednesday at Bowes Creek against St. Charles North. The freshman opened with three consecutive pars. 

Then the streak began. 

He went bogey, birdie and after a double bogey on No. 7 fired off consecutive birdies to close the round. It’s a resilient approach that DeKalb coach John Cordes and assistant Chuck Schramm have worked to instill.

“Every time he went over par he bounced back with a birdie,” Cordes said. “Coach Schramm and him had a conversation how important it is to let a bad shot go after its been hit. He’s worked to keep his emotions in check and learn that missed shots are going to happen.”

What to watch for

Yorkville at Kaneland at Hughes Creek, Tuesday, 4:15 p.m.

Being top heavy hasn’t been a problem for Kaneland. In its first five competitive rounds, the Knights’ top four players all posted scores that qualified for the final team number. It’s sparked a healthy competition amongst other four golfers who want their scores to count as well. 

“The fifth through eighth spots have really started to play better too,” said Kaneland coach Mark Meyer who added that senior Stephen Cannell and junior Jesse Denton have become reliable scorers after a hard working offseason. “They want their scores to count.” 


1. Matt Yonkovich, sr., Kaneland

2. Austin Freeman, fr., DeKalb

3. Brody Kuhar, sr., Kaneland

4. Jacob Cook, sr., DeKalb 

5. Stephen Cannell, sr., Kaneland

6. Ryan Aurand, sr., Sycamore

7. Ben Melms, so., DeKalb

8. Jesse Denton, jr., Kaneland

9. Tommy Lucca, so., Genoa-Kingston

10. Peyton Gatz, so., Indian Creek

Notes: Historic washout: Records were about to fall. 

In the nine-year tenure of Kaneland coach Mark Meyer, the Knights had never shot a sub-150 round. At Hughes Creek last Friday against West Aurora, Kaneland had a new low in its sights. 

Then, lightning crashed, thunder roared and rain poured down to wash out the meet. The results were unofficial, but it was a confidence builder for a team with lofty goals.  

“We were excited because that was one of our goals,” Meyer said. “We also want to post a sub-300, 18-hole team score. But those are small goals. Most of our goals are much bigger and take a lot more work. Win conference again. Get back to state as a team.”

Barbs on track: Reliability was an question at the start of the season at DeKalb.

But, Jacob Cook quickly became the DeKalb anchor. He’s led the Barbs in scoring in all but one event and has broke 80 in every 18-hole event.

“Jacob has done well to post scores in the 70s in all 18-hole rounds,” DeKalb coach John Cordes said. “The younger guys have stepped up and done well, too. There’s always room for improvement, but we’ve been consistent and are right where I thought we would be at this point in the season.”

Royals go Hoosiers: Athletes at Hinckley-Big Rock can have a chip on their shoulder. 

The Royals’ athletics program has established itself as a small-school powerhouse in girls basketball and boys soccer. The boys basketball team has had deep postseason runs. And lately, it’s the golf programs that girls golf coach Greg Jourdan said have also achieved their own level of “Hoosiers-like success.” 

“We have a great Hoosiers-like mentality,” Jourdan said. “We embrace being the little guys that can come in and give a big team a good challenge.”

On Wednesday at Orchard Valley, after dual wins to open the season against their piers - Indian Creek, Somonauk and Aurora Central Catholic - the Royals (3-1) welcomed the challenge against West Aurora. But lost a 9-hole dual meet 191-222 at one of the finest public courses in the far western suburbs. 

Jourdan picked a few areas for improvement and cast a football analogy to describe the mindset he wants to Royals to adopt.

“We had high expectations after the way we started the season,” Jourdan said. “But I think this is far from a high-water mark for us. It’s something we build upon. We can recalibrate our goals now and see where we need to improve. 

“We learned we need to play the course, not our opponent. We can’t get intimidated if the person we are playing with is firing off tap-in birdies. We’ve just got to keep giving ourself a chance. We also know we have to have a defensive back mentality. We’ve got to be quick to forget a double or triple bogey and move on to the next shot, the next hole.” 

Cogs hunt for four: Jake Langford, Tommy Lucca and Nick Adamczek have posted scores in the low- to mid-40s. 

Genoa-Kingston coach Mike Lauer expected those results. 

He also knew a fourth score would be evasive all season. In a 171-182 loss against Marengo, the Cogs (1-1) posted their usual three scores in the 40s, but had to take a mid-50s score that proved to be the difference. 

“Our top three has performed like I thought they would,” Lauer said. “Jake has hit it clean and Nick has worked a lot on his swing over the summer. All three guys can go lower if they sharpen up their short games. We track putts and there’s room to improve. We can also get better from 100 yards in, on the scoring shots.”

VIEWS: Importance of consistency: Repetition is a key to success in golf. 

A repeatable swing and putting stroke are mainstays for any team leaders. 

But, as the season begins to quickly slip into its normal grind, mental consistency is what coaches are trying to instill in players.

In a 160-167 loss against St. Charles North at Bowes Creek on Wednesday, DeKalb struggled to find consistency on a course in which it was unfamiliar. 

Coach John Cordes, a guru on the mental side of the game, said the young course is maturing well, has many “challenging, scraggly bunkers with long rough around them, but it was consistency in proper club selection that got the Barbs in trouble. 

At H-BR, girls coach Greg Jourdan asked the Royals after a loss to West Aurora at beautiful Orchard Valley, a scenic course with great sightline that can provide tricky, uneven fairway lies, to “allow their short-term memory to disappear” after a blow-up hole so they could mentally focus on the next hole. 

It’s consistency in attitude Jourdan wants. The pay off should be consistency in scores.   

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