It was a fourth-place finish for Oregon at its own Salley Wessels Invitational Sept. 15.
On the par-72 Sunset golf course in Mt. Morris, it was Byron claiming team honors with a 314.
The Tigers tied Bradley-Bourbonnais, but won based upon the having a higher score by the fifth scorer. Oregon’s 342 strokes placed them ahead eight other teams.
“I thought the kids were a bit disappointed in their performances,” Oregon coach Jim Spratt said. “I know Brian, Lane and Ben felt they should have shot in the 70’s judging by their practice round the day before.”
Lane Hawkins had an 82, Brian Ostrander an 83 and Ben Gardner an 84 to pace the Hawks. The fourth scorer was Taylor Brubaker at 93, with Mitchell Nehrkorn right behind at 94.
“I need work on my irons,” Ostrander said. “That probably cost me 5-6 strokes.”
“I made some pretty long putts, but my approach shots killed me,” Gardner said. “Sometimes they were good, sometimes not so good.”
The individual medalist was Adam Marshall of Byron, who shot a 74 for his low round of the year. Marshall is one of four juniors on a well-rounded team of scorers (74, 78, 81, 81, 81).
“One of our biggest strengths is how consistent we are from No. 1 to No. 6,” first-year Byron coach Tim Sedam said. Byron dropped down to 1A this season after being in 2A last year.
“It phenomenal being back in 1A,” Sendam said. “Right now, we are focusing on Aquin.”
Freeport Aquin finish ahead of Oregon in third place at 326 strokes. The Bulldogs won the 1A sectional in 2011 and returned their top six players, but have trailed Byron all season.
“Byron beat us by 27 earlier and got us by 12 today,” Aquin coach Bill Pospischil. “We’re just trying to see where we stand with them.”
Byron and Aquin will meet again in the 1A regional, while Oregon will enter a new territory (2A) in classification. However, the Hawks will have familiarity on 2A regional and sectional locales.
“It will be good to play at courses (Timber Creek in Dixon and Timber Point in Poplar Grove) we know,” Hawkins said. “We just need to play smart.”
At the Wessels meet, Oregon beat 2A regional host Dixon. At the regional, Princeton and Sterling, with the area’s top golfer, Andrew Blackburn, will be the teams to beat. The Hawks will be one of several teams fighting for the third and final sectional-qualifying spot.
“I’m happy to be in 2A and look forward to the competition,” Ostrander said. “Teams might underestimate us.”
Oregon will be at Genoa-Kingston Invite this Saturday, before next week’s BNC tournament at Timber Point. Byron will be the favorite, but Oregon is in the running to contend for second place especially with Burlington-Central losing the conference’s best golfer (Matt Weber).
Weber was recently ruled ineligible by the IHSA for playing in a non-sanctioned event in West Virginia during the school year.
“I think the Hawks have a great season going right now and will bounce back and play well during these last 3 regular season meets and post season tournaments,” Spratt said.