Boys Golf: Raymond Knoll leads Naperville North to regional title

Story Image Waubonsie Valley's Jason Marrs tees off during the boys golf regional match at Naperbrook Golf Course in Plainfield on Tuesday, October 2, 2012. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Story Image

Updated: October 2, 2012 11:07PM

As slow-paced as golf can be, momentum and emotion still play a big role — like the weekend’s Ryder Cup at Medinah showed.

So it’s not surprising Naperville North’s Raymond Knoll got emotional and built instant momentum over something he heard on Naperbrook Golf Course during Tuesday’s Naperville Central Class 3A regional. It may have been the decisive factor in his shooting a 3-under-par round of 69 for the individual title on the 6,677-yard layout while also leading his team to the overall team crown and a berth in next week’s St. Charles East Class 3A Sectional.

“I kind of got really excited when I was on the 15th green and I heard that my teammate, Patrick Henrickson, had shot a 75,” Knoll said. “I was excited for him and knew it would help us big time, so I wanted to match his play and have us move on as a team.”

Knoll did better than that. The 2012 state junior amateur champion birdied the 16th and 18th holes after hearing the news and those scores provided him with the title over surprising Benet freshman Alex Bassetto.

On a windy day, only a few weeks after the greens had been aerated, Knoll managed to birdie the first, seven, 16th and 18th. But he saved his best for the 562-yard par-5 14th. Knoll stood 271 yards away after his drive, and ripped a 3-wood that landed 10 yards in front of the green and rolled up to within a foot, resulting in an eagle-3.

“I’ve been practicing a lot in this wind,” Knoll said. “Bolingbrook (Golf Club) is right over there and I go to that range and its wide open like this course.

“The big factor is I grew up on this course, have been playing it as long as I remember and it’s just comfortable for me.”

Bassetto could say the same. The Benet freshman from Naperville has been playing Naperbrook since he was 8 years old. It showed when he shot 70 despite coming in as his team’s third man.

“I knew I would shoot better on the back nine,” said Bassetto, who had a 34 on the back. “I putted real well, hit every green in regulation and didn’t have a 3-putt green.

“I started out this season slow. I was shooting around 82, I think because I’m a freshman and it took a while to start feeling comfortable on the team. I was always the little kid of the team, but then it became fun.”

Naperville North also had a 78 from Sean McDonnell and 79 from Braden Klaisle for a 301 winning total. Benet came in two shots back with Brock Jameson shooting 75, Joe Minik 78, and Jack Corrigan 80.

Naperville Central got a 75 from Eddie Leiser, 76 from Peter Mandich, 80 from Jack Hawes, and 81 by David Gizzi to advance with the third team score of 309.

Naperville Central denied Waubonsie Valley (310) a team berth in sectional by one shot, the second straight year it happened to the Warriors’ golfers.

“We know we’re a good team,” said the Warriors’ Eric Copeland, who shot a team-low 76. “When we all show up, we know we’re one of the better teams in the state.

“It’s all in our heads, a mental game. That came up to bite us today.”

All wasn’t lost for the Warriors, as four qualified among the 10 individuals who advance to sectionals. Copeland will be joined in individual sectional competition by teammates Tate Anderson, Austin Datz and Jason Marrs after all three shot 78 and tied with Hinsdale South’s Danny Ormistion — then won a one-hole playoff for the final three sectional berths. Ormistion bogeyed the first hole to put the three Warriors in sectionals with their teammate.

“I think we pushed each other on that hole — we worked as a team and helped each other out,” Anderson said.

Other area individuals to advance included Marmion’s Luke Hoss, Brett Koskinen, and Liam Creamer, who all shot 77, and Metea Valley’s Jeremy Forbes (77).

Marmion shot 312 for fifth place, Metea Valley a 322 for eighth, West Aurora a 342 for ninth and East Aurora a 461 for tenth.

Plainfield Central Regional

Medalist Jason Roach shot a 74 at Mistwood Golf Club to lead Neuqua Valley to the regional title with a team score of 313, far ahead of the other two advancing teams — Plainfield North (339) and Yorkville (341).

Other Neuqua golfers figuring in the scoring were Reid Whiting (77), Jordan Yamamoto (79) and Jimmy Roach (83).

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