PRINCETON — Returning golfers for Saturday’s Princeton Invitational golf meet found things to be a little reversed at Chapel Hill Golf Course.
Along with a recent change of ownership and new name, the Princeton golf course, formerly named Hunter’s Ridge and Bureau Valley Country Club before that, has flipped flopped its front and back nine holes. While that led to some confusion at the start of the day, good golf prevailed in the end.
Rock Falls and meet medalist Andrew Tichler beat out St. Bede 321-330 for team honors. IVC came in third; Mendota (350) was fifth; and Princeton (351), the defending champion, was fifth.
“The P.I.T. has been fortunate to have kept most of the same teams playing each year. With that said, the coaches and players who have participated in the past were naturally a little confused with the two nines being reversed,” PHS coach Duane Price said. “Since the tournament uses a shotgun start, it didn’t matter for scoring. However, it created a few errors in getting players to their correct starting holes.
“Once all the players had teed off, the tournament ran smoothly. The course was set up well for scoring, and the players appeared to have enjoyed the challenge.”
IVC’s Jarom Hutson, who shot a 76, but lost to Tichler in a two-hole, sudden death playoff for medalist honors, didn’t mind the course change. He shot better on the tougher front 9 (35) than he did on the back (41).
“It kind of confused the numbers, that’s for sure. I kept getting them flipped,” he said. “(But) I thought it was nice to end on the easier side; that way it kind of allowed you to recover from the mistakes you had on the front 9.”
St. Bede scored two golfers in the Top 7 with both sophomore Jarret Olson and junior Joey Dudek shooting 79s. Olson was awarded fifth place by a scorecard tiebreaker over both Dudek and Princeton’s Zach Hicks, who also shot a 79.
Dudek, who shot a 36 on the front and 43 on the back, said the course change didn’t really bother him,
“You’re always looking at the stones to see what holes you were on, but I’m familiar with it,” he said.
Bureau Valley’s Ryan Young also walked away with a ninth-place medal, shooting an 82. L-P’s Kyle Hanck was 10th at 83.
Princeton had a case of the “what-ifs,” competing without No. 2 man Ian Nichols, who was sick, Price said. Along with Hicks, the Tigers scored with freshman Colby Robbins (88), Miles Rose (90) and Derec Roberson (94). Colin Pierson added a 95 and Colton Erven a 103.
“In all, I feel we were fairly competitive despite our fifth-place finish,” he said. “As a team, we depend on (Nichols’) score every time we compete, so we knew our score was going to be a bit higher than we’d normally expect. With that in mind, I will impress upon the guys that we competed with many of the teams who will be in the LaSalle-Peru Regional. We’ll use that as motivation to get better in the next few weeks to, hopefully, be ready to compete for a sectional-qualifying spot as a team.”
Price knows Hicks was disappointed with his putting, but he said his 79 was
“still very competitive.” A few of the other Tiger golfers shot 18-hole personal bests, he said, which is encouraging since the postseason begins next week.
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