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GOLF INSIDER: DeKalb's Russell looking for playoff success at Sycamore

Published: Friday, Oct. 4, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

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Maggie Russell, so., DeKalb

In a playoff tuneup, Russell fired a second-place 88 at the Northern Illinois Big 12 Invitational at Fairways Golf Course in Rochelle on Tuesday. Her quest to become a two-time sectional qualifier starts Wednesday at the IHSA Class 2A Burlington Central regional at Sycamore Golf Club.  

What to watch

The postseason starts as the boys teams will compete in regional play on Tuesday while the girls teams will follow on Wednesday. Those advancing to sectionals will play again on Saturday or early next week.

POWER RANKINGS 

1. Matt Yonkovich, sr., Kaneland

2. Jacob Cook, jr., DeKalb  

3. Austin Freeman, fr., DeKalb

4. Ryan Aurand, sr., Sycamore

6. Brody Kuhar, sr. Kaneland

5. Connor Hoyle, so., DeKalb

7. Ben Melms, so., DeKalb

8. Nick Adamczyk, so., Genoa-Kingston 

9. Jake Hed, fr., Kaneland

9. Tommy Lucca, so., Genoa-Kingston

10. Lauren Francis, sr., Indian Creek 

Notes:

Russell’s time: The waiting game is over for DeKalb sophomore Maggie Russell. 

Without enough girls to field a full varsity team, Russell plays on the Barbs’ sophomore team to prepare for the girls playoffs. At the IHSA Class 2A Burlington Central Regional, Russell will have a distinct advantage. 

Neighboring Sycamore Golf Club hosts the Wednesday regional.         

“This is her time to shine,” DeKalb coach John Cordes said. “She’s been out working hard at practices all year. Sycamore is a course she knows well. She’s developed the mentality and knows what it takes to move on in playoffs.”

Barbs battle: DeKalb played as well as it could at the Northern Illinois Big 12 Invitational. 

The Barbs fired off two 77s and two 79s. They posted a hearty 312. yet finished in second place to Yorkville. Two Foxes finished under par and a team total of 308 was good enough to dethrone two-time champion Kaneland and land DeKalb in second place. 

“Everybody really played well,” said Cordes about the Barbs who lost by one stroke to Yorkville in the regular season finale last Friday. “We just had a few holes that did us in; 312 is a score we would have taken at the beginning of the meet. We didn’t lose today. Yorkville went out and won.”

The young talent on the Barbs is positioned for a deep playoff run this year and a bright future as it continues to mature and become familiar with the courses on which it plays.

“We have a young and enthusiastic group,” Cordes said. “They really think their way around the course. They are very smart players that pay attention and take good looks during the round and at practice rounds at where their shots should be going. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them.”

H-BR goes mental: A DVD player and bag of candy was all H-BR girls coach Greg Jourdan needed for practice Wednesday.

The Royals sat in Jordan’s classroom, opened a bag of Smarties and watched Tom Watson’s Lessons of a Lifetime instructional DVD.     

“We had a virtual practice,” H-BR coach Greg Jourdan said. “We want positive thoughts in our head for regionals. We want to putt with our ears. We want to listen to the ball go into the hole rather than watch. We want to be tension-free so we can make solid putting strokes and good swings.”

Even with a stiff 18-hole test on tap at the Class 1A Westminster Regional at the Golf Club of Illinois on Wednesday, Jourdan believes the Royals have ben provided with the necessary shots to handle themselves well.

“I’m comfortable with the group,” said Jourdan, who added 2012 sectional qualifier Caitlyn Fecht is doing everything possible to get back to full health for the regional. “We have high expectations and know we can make a good run. GCI is a battle of attrition. We are going to hold on and do all we can. Double bogeys won’t always hurt you on that course. We’ve just got to grind it out and stay positive.” 

VIEWS:

The protection of par is an outdated concept. 

At the IHSA Class A Westminster Regional on Wednesday the antiquated practice could be put to the test. 

Hosted by the Golf Club of Illinois, previous regional scores at the beautiful links-style course in Algonquin have soared. This isn’t a critique of the course. GCI has it all. Firm fairways, smartly placed bunker complexes to protect some of the finest greens in the area, a solid mix of long and short holes to test every club in your bag and an emphasis on fairness when it comes to shot value; a missed fairway isn’t a disaster at GCI.

But, if the course is set up with pins tucked on the edge of greens with limited access for players, the rough is up and the wind blowing, scores will soar. If the goal is to determine the best players, pins should be accessible. Let players’ shot making determine the outcome of the regional, not the ability of the course staff to find the most challenging pin location.

GCI is one of my favorite courses to play. Hopefully, the girls in the Westminster regional have a chance to score and enjoy all of its challenges.

James Nokes is a contributor to the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached via e-mail at sports@daily-chronicle.com.

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