MARENGO – With the sun setting in the distance, Huntley junior Trent Craig was one of seven golfers who were fighting for only four spots in the Class 3A state final.
As he waited to putt for par during a playoff tiebreaker, Craig knew that three of the first four golfers finished with a bogey. He then made the putt at the Huntley sectional to advance to state for the second time in his career.
An emotional Craig said he didn’t watch as the individual scores continued to get posted while he waited in the clubhouse after he carded a 76 at Blackstone Golf Club in Marengo.
“My game has been so on and off this year, it’s a sign that hard work pays off,” Craig said. “This one means a little bit more just because I really played like I deserved it. It feels good.”
Jacobs senior Chris Boyle, who also shot a 76, had to endure a second playoff – one of four golfers competing for two remaining spots – but he converted his putt on No. 18 to clinch his first state appearance.
“I was just staying confident,” Boyle said. “I had a clutch putt on 17, extending me to be able to play in the playoffs. That was awesome. Overall, I put a lot of hard work into this week.”
Boyle will be joined at The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington next weekend by Jacobs senior Jack Ramsett, who led the Golden Eagles with a 75, as well Prairie Ridge freshman Ethan Farnam (75) and Cary-Grove senior Daniel DePrey (75). Prospect’s Josh Johnson earned medalist honors shooting 1-under par 72. The sectional tournament was delayed 1 hour, 30 minutes at the start due to frost on the course.
“I played pretty solid, my short game was really good and I think that’s what got me through it,” said Ramsett, who makes state for the first time in his career. “I’ve got to go out with a bang, right? … I usually play good when I’m nervous. I always usually perform under pressure.”
The Red Raiders just missed out on advancing to state as a team, shooting a 308 to finish fourth – one point behind third-place Prospect and two shots back of second-place St. Viator. Deerfield shot a 302 to win the sectional title. Jacobs (312) finished sixth while Crystal Lake Central (334) and Prairie Ridge (337) placed 10th and 11th, respectively.
“I hit the ball so good today,” Farnam said. “The putter kind of let me down a little bit. I had a four putt and two three puts so I should have probably shot really low, but I’m still happy.”
Huntley coach Jim Rolando credited five seniors – four of whom played Monday – for their impact on the program. The Red Raiders posted stellar scores from all six of their golfers, led by Craig, Jake Grabner, who was one of the golfers to compete in playoff after shooting a 76, senior Gage Jerub (78) and senior Brad Spoeth (78).
“Obviously it’ll be disappointing for about 24 hours, but the guys played great,” Rolando said. “ … When you get to this sectional, it’s tough and you know it’s going to be right there neck and neck.”