Naperville North wins DVC in close finishNaperville Central's Jack Hawes, left, holds an umbrella as Naperville North's Michael Doherty tees off the twelfth hole in the rain during the Boys DVC golf Tournament at Bartlett Hills Golf Club on Wednesday, September 28, 2011. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 28, 2011 8:07PM
After finishing unbeaten in dual meet play this season, Naperville North’s boys golf team had a comfortable margin heading into Wednesday’s DuPage Valley Conference meet at Bartlett Hills.
But Naperville Central and Wheaton Warrenville South didn’t make things easy on the Huskies, and the tournament came down to the last group and last hole of the day.
Naperville North junior ace Raymond Knoll hit a bad approach shot on No. 18, and his coach had a simple, direct message for him.
“I walked around and (Ryan) Hantak goes, ‘You have to get up and down,’” Knoll said. “I was insanely nervous playing the 18th hole. I was really relieved when I got it up and down. I didn’t realize it was that close.”
His save on No. 18 helped the Huskies repeat as DVC champions. North shot a 310, with Wheaton South (311) and Naperville Central (312) nipping at its heels on a cool, wet day.
“We had a cushion, but a half an hour ago, I thought we lost everything,” Hantak said. “At the turn, Central was up seven strokes. If we came in third, we were done. It was nice to win the tournament and win it. Even though we had a big margin of error coming into this thing, the tournament came down to two or three strokes. Every shot counts.”
Knoll wound up with a 75, good for second individually. His day started out with a double bogey after altering his routine before his round.
“I marked my ball differently,” Knoll said. “I just wanted to get some luck, so I put a shamrock on the ball. Then I doubled the hole and I looked at my ball and was like, ‘OK, that didn’t work,’ and I just threw it in the trees. It wasn’t lucky.”
Teammate Jake Dunham shot a 76 for fourth place and Eric Izzo’s 79 placed him 10th individually. Braden Klaisle added an 80 out of the No. 6 spot for the champs.
Wheaton South senior Tee-K Kelly kept the Tigers in the hunt by earning medalist honors with a 72. His freshman brother Will added a 77, but the Tigers fell just shy of coming up and swiping the conference title.
“We played good today,” Tee-K Kelly said. “We know that the DVC is always in bad weather, so we know a 310 usually wins it. We knew if we shot somewhere around that score, we’d made a run at it. It was right around our target zone and I’m happy with where we finished.”
Naperville Central struggled on the back nine after its hot start, but still had three golfers place in the top 10 individually. Peter Mandich was third (76) and Henry Conforti and Tim Lieser each shot 78s, good for seventh and eighth, respectively. Wheaton North was fourth with a 322, led by Matt Winkelman’s 77.