SYCAMORE – For the first time in almost a decade, the Sycamore girls golf team had someone qualify for state.
Of course, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IHSA did not host a state golf tournament this year so Brianna Chamoun didn't get to compete past the sectional round.
The Sycamore freshman surged late in the year, taking thrid at the Interstate 8 tournament, fifth at the Class 3A Sterling Regional, and sixth at the Dundee-Crown Sectional. She was also named the Daily Chronicle 2020 Girls Golfer of the Year.
"I really enjoyed playing in the sectional ," Chamoun said. "Even though there was no state tournament I still enjoyed playing in the sectional."
Chamoun averaged a 45 on the year, spending the first part of the season on the boys team, hitting from longer tees.
When the postseason came around, Chamoun competed as an individual representing Sycamore, which does not have a girls team.
"In the beginning, my golf game wasn't as good as it used to be," Chamoun said. "I practiced and worked on it and it got better."
Chamoun is no stranger to high-level competition, competing in summer tournaments. She's the junior champ at the Kishwaukee Country Club the last four years.
Coach Dan Wheeler said he and the coaching staff was impressed with how Chamoun competed early in the year – even if the freshman was hard on herself.
"I think she knew her potential," Wheeler said "She'd show me scores in the low 80s from the summer, but playing with boys is different than what she was used to. It was really, really exciting to see her finish and be happy with herself versus knowing she could do better."
Wheeler said Chamoun was determined to keep improving.
"She was determined to shoot better because she had done it before," Wheeler said. "She plays so much she knew what she was capable of doing. It was just a matter of doing it when it counted in a tournament. You watch her swing and you watch the way she plays you knew it was a matter of time before she put together a strong round in a tournament."
Chamoun said it was just a matter of getting in extra practice to iron out any hic-cups in her game.
"Over time as you play golf there are always many problems you have with your swing and how your hitting," Chamoun said. "I had a problem with my clubface, how I hit the ball with it. Because of the problem it screwed up a lot of other things in my golf game. Once I fixed that, I fixed my golf game."
Chamoun said she was also grateful for her offseason competition, as it helped her mentally down the stertch.
"You get to play with people and they are two-day 18 hole tournaments," Chamoun said. "You get to experience good days and bad days. If you have a bad day the first day you get another day or another round to finish it off and make it better."
Wheeler said longer courses in the postseason also play into Chamoun's strengths.
"I think playing courses that are more challenging in the regional and sectional, she as able to take advantage of that because she can hit the ball further than anyone," Wheeler said. "It makes par 5s and longer par 4s easier for her than people she's competing against. That may have contributed to her postseason success."