BLOOMINGTON – Jack Paeglow knew his finish at last year’s Class 3A state golf tournament wasn’t indicative of his best level of play.
Paeglow, the DeKalb senior, finished in a nine-way tie for 60th a year ago.
On Saturday at his latest crack at state competition, the Illinois State recruit rocketed into a three-way tie for third place at the Class 3A state tournament hosted at the Den at the Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington.
Glenbard West sophomore John Wild and York senior Joshua LaBounty joined Paeglow. All three finished at even-par 144.
“I know I’m good enough to be where I’m at,” Paeglow said. “Last year, it was just one bad day ... so, I know I was good enough to be where I am at now. The tournament last year, that’s not who I am.”
“I had a good day [Saturday]. I got off to a pretty rough start,” Paeglow said. “I had three bogeys in a row and then just kind of grinded it out.”
Paeglow paced his DeKalb team that placed eighth. Danny Franzene (77-83), James Keck (88-85), William Schimbke (99-81), Brett Paeglow (88-96) and Derek Olson (93-93) rounded out the scores for the weekend.
“Eighth place out of the whole state is quite the feat,” DeKalb coach Bradley Kerkman said. “I told the paper yesterday that people kind of looked over us; we’re kind of like an outlier in a very dense, suburban area, but these kids can play some serious golf.”
“Won our regional, won our sectional,” Kerkman continued. “I thought they had a lot of pressure on them in the sectional, being our home course. Everybody just expected us to win, but for the kids, that puts a lot of pressure on them to succeed. They just grind. They’re battlers.”
DeKalb as a team made the cut to compete in the second round by one stroke Friday. But, getting everyone to Bloomington is an accomplishment a year in the making.
“We knew at sectionals last year, we were seven shots off [and] finished in fourth place,” Paeglow said. “We got everyone back [this year]. We knew as long as we grinded and worked hard, we could be here.”
Franzene called Saturday’s team results “a really cool moment”.
“[It’s] nice to come back after that close loss last year,” said Franzene, who enjoyed his first trip to state.
“It was really fun,” he said. “It’s definitely [some] long days out here. Definitely a grind, but I had a good time.”
One lesson Franzene learned this year: “If you have a bad hole, it’s not the end of the world.
“If you can just keep grinding, you can put up a good score.”