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GOLF INSIDER: Barbs learning from rounds at tough courses

Published: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 10:14 a.m. CDT

Spotlight on...

McRaye Scheller, sr., Hinckley-Big Rock

A concert violinist has made the transition to competitive golfer. A golf novice as a freshman, Scheller has become a student of the game and posted the Royals’ most consistent scores this fall. 

“As a freshman it was a challenge for McRaye to hit the ball 50 yards,” H-BR coach Greg Jourdan said. “She’s taken to the game and embraced the approach of playing the course not her swing. She knows what she needs to work on at practice and can get it done on her own. She’s developed a passion for the game. It’s one of the most fulfilling things to see as a coach.” 

What to watch for

DeKalb at Freeport Invite at Park Hills Golf Course, 9 a.m. Saturday 

Fast greens with well-placed slopes are the defense at Park Hills. A course with plenty of open space on the outward nine gets narrow as players make the turn for the clubhouse on the back nine, which runs along the perimeter of the property and features plenty of out-of-bounds hazards.

Sycamore at Aurora Central Catholic Invitational at Phillips Park, 9 a.m. Saturday

A round at Phillips Park will be an important experience for Sycamore because it will play host to the Class 2A ACC Regional. 

NOTEBOOK

The Ivanhoe Classic was a stiff challenge. DeKalb finished eighth out of 13 teams at the premier private country club on Monday, as the Barbs’ that were first-time players of the course struggled to find their bearings. 

“That’s a tough track,” DeKalb coach John Cordes said. “It was unknown to many of our new guys. We knew it was tough and were a little overwhelmed, but we will be back next year and remember the experience.”

H-BR’s bright spot: In their last two quadrangular meets, the Royals have posted the fourth-best score.

Hunter Seierstad has been the most consistent player for H-BR as he’s broken 50 in both events. 

“Today was the toughest day of the season,” said H-BR coach Kyle Donka after the Royals placed behind Reed-Custer, Seneca and Dwight at Nettle Creek on Monday. “We played the extremely challenging front nine at Nettle Creek and had a lot of problems with the water and [out of bounds].”

Finding consistency: Devoid of golfers with varsity experience, it’s been a struggle this fall for Sycamore to post consistent scores. Ryan Aurand has been a solid No. 1, but the scores that follow seem to come from a different player each round. 

“We are trying to get more consistent,” said Sycamore coach Dave Burdick as the Spartans gear up for a busy week which will include four 9-hole dual meets. “A player will post a score in the low 40s one day and follow it up with a 50 the next round.” 

VIEWS: Greg Jourdan wants H-BR girls golfers to solve their problems as quickly as possible on the golf course. 

With the site for the Class 1A Westminster Christian Regional on Oct. 9 now set for the Golf Club of Illinois in Algonquin, Jourdan knows golfers will face a plethora of challenges on the links-style course. 

The preparation for the postseason, where harder courses and five-and-a-half-hour rounds are the norm on a course packed full with prep golfers, had DeKalb coach John Cordes schedule three consecutive tournaments on tracks that provide distinct tests in Aldeen, Ivanhoe and Park Hills. 

Whether it’s game adjustment or grueling rounds on tough courses, the goal is to get ready for the postseason. And then get as many golfers to sectionals as possible. 

“We know what GCI is going in,” Jourdan said. “We know we will need to have good green-side shots. We will work to open up our sand wedges and swing half way back and all the way through to get a soft landing on the green. 

“You’ve got to go into GCI with a few arrows in your quiver. You’ve got to be confident out of the sand or throw your shot up through the neck of the green between the bunkers. We will prepare and re-adjust our mindset. We know there will be tucked pins, fast greens, rough and winds.”

That’s why Jourdan will encourage players to get to 100 yards for their approach shots rather than taking a shot at the green from long distances and inviting trouble with a missed shot. Players have to trust their swing and make minor adjustments if necessary.

Sitting on a golf cart as a course observer at GCI, Jourdan has seen players in a state of paralysis due to over-analysis after a terrible hole. 

“Sometimes just one Aspirin will cure a headache,” Jourdan said. “Taking 20 won’t make you euphoric, it will just send you to the hospital.”

While the Royals tweak their strategy and preach minor in-round adjustments, the Barbs are trudging through a bruising schedule to prep for the postseason.

“We have played in regional- or sectional-like tournaments,” said Cordes who was encouraged the Barbs finished fifth out of 31 teams at Aldeen. “The more we can simulate the settings we will face in the postseason the better. We’ve got to have patience in those rounds that can be very slow and on very hard courses.”

POWER RANKINGS 

1. Matt Yonkovich, sr., Kaneland

2. Brody Kuhar, sr. Kaneland 

3. Jacob Cook, jr., DeKalb  

4. Austin Freeman, fr., DeKalb

5. Stephen Cannell, sr., Kaneland

6. Ben Melms, jr., DeKalb

7. Tommy Lucca, so., Genoa-Kingston

8. Nick Adamczyk, so., Genoa-Kingston 

9. Jesse Denton, jr., Kaneland

10. Payton Getz, so., Indian Creek

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