Lake Forest’s Joe Willis claims 3A state golfLake Forest's Joe Willis lines up a putt on the 18th green to wrap up his IHSA 3A Boys Golf championship . | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 15, 2011 10:52PM
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Lake Forest senior Joe Willis’ face was red and windblown as he walked off the 18th green at the Den at Fox Creek Golf Course Saturday.
But during the Class 3A state championship, Willis was anything but affected by the gusty conditions.
Willis shot a 1-over 73 Saturday to win the individual state title and lead the Scouts to a second consecutive state championship.
“He was just plugging along. It was like there was no wind at all,” Lake Forest coach Jim Matheson said. “He was just fairway, green, fairway, green. There were a couple birdies in there. It looked pretty easy which was amazing considering all the wind.”
Willis birdied holes No. 1, 7 and 10 en route to a five-stroke victory over Lyons junior Charlie Netzel, who shot a 72.
“I had a really good week, and I managed the wind,” Willis said. “Everyone has to deal with it. I didn’t make a lot of mental mistakes out there and just stayed really calm.”
Lake Forest, which also counted scores from Ian Mankoff (78), Nick Steffens (79) and Charlie Marshall (79), won by nine strokes over Lyons.
The Lions topped Loyola by five strokes for second place.
“It was definitely under the radar,” Netzel said. “We played our worst golf of the year at sectionals and just snuck in. For us to come here and get second, I bet no one expected it.”
Hinsdale Central finished fourth, while Carmel and New Trier tied for fifth. Last year’s runner-up Naperville North dropped from second Friday to seventh.
Crystal Lake South senior Nick Robles took third a year after losing in a playoff for the state title.
It didn’t matter the returning firepower, Lake Forest had all the answers to the riddle the brutal wind created.
“We knew we were one of the best teams, we just needed to come out and do what were capable of,” Matheson said. “It takes some players like Joe to win a state title, but we have six good players. This was definitely our goal coming down.”