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Knights win 2nd straight sectional

LOCKPORT – Although Lincoln-Way Central’s girls golf team scored higher than usual on Monday, their 308 score amid windy and wet conditions in the Class 2A Hinsdale South Sectional at Prairie Bluff Golf Club certainly was the envy of the
12-team field.

The Knights’ total was four strokes better than runner-up Naperville North and seven strokes ahead of third-place Hinsdale Central as all three earned spots in this weekend’s IHSA state finals at Decatur’s Hickory Point Golf Club.

It marks the second straight sectional championship for coach Brian Shannon’s team. In addition, this is the first time that the Knights have advanced to state two years in a row since the first two years of the competition, in 1975 and 1976.

Leading the Knights were their two seniors, runner-up Grace Curran, who fired a 72, and Brianne Bolden, who tied for seventh place with a 76. Curran won state in 2016 and tied for fifth last year, while Bolden tied for second last year after tying for 10th in 2016.

Other top scorers for the Knights were juniors Maddie Pyle (tied 16th, 79) and Carly Schiene (81). Sophomores Caitlyn Parrish (82) and Sydney Miron (89) also competed.

“They’re just such a wonderful group of players to coach,” Shannon said. “It’s very difficult to know that you’re supposed to be champions and to repeat, and we didn’t have best start today, but they overcame a lot of adversity, and they realized today that the course was tough for everyone, so if you just keep it steady, sometimes there’s enough good things that happened to win a tournament.”

The battle for medalist honors was between the top two competitors in the 2016 state finals. Benet Academy senior Lauren Beaudreau, who lives in Lemont, posted nine hole scores of 33 and
35 to defeat Curran by four strokes. Two years ago, Curran won the title by a stroke over Beaudreau, who also was fourth in 2015 but didn’t compete in high school a year ago.

“I’m really in good form going into the state tournament.” Beaudreau said. “I had nine birdies at regionals and had four today with no bogeys. I’ve just been super consistent, and I’m giving myself a lot looks at birdies, which is really nice.”

Considering the conditions, Curran was thrilled with her even-par 72, which was three strokes ahead of four individuals who tied for third. But more importantly, she’s excited about her team’s prospects this weekend.

“I’m super proud of the team,” Curran said. “It was very hard to adjust since the ground was very wet. I got off to a little bit of a rough start, but was able to bounce back and bring it back to even, which I was proud of. But I’m even more proud of the team and the fact that everybody lifted each other up, and we were able to come out with the team title.”

Although dealing with a back injury, Bolden tied for seventh. Curran and Bolden combined for a 148 total, which provided a cushion over the next two teams, whose top-two posted 152 totals. And Pyle and Schiene combined for a 160 total to help seal the title.

“There were a lot of things out there that upset me since I can’t hit it the way that I want to with my back injury, so there was a lot of clubbing up and swinging easy, and it’s kind of hard for me to score like that,” Bolden said. “But the team did it today and we’re really excited to give it a really good run on Friday and Saturday.”

Three other local players also qualified as individuals. Lemont senior Maggie Micetich and Lockport freshman Lizzie Anderson both shot a 78 to tie for 11th, while Lincoln-Way East freshman Kailey White was the final qualifier with a 79 to tie for 16th. This is the second state trip for Micetich, who also advanced as a freshman.

“It’s really exciting to go down there,” said Anderson, who won an IESA state title last year at Homer. “It’s just cool to make it to sectional as a team and to make it to state as an individual.”

Lockport (339) finished sixth, East (352) tied for seventh and Lemont (363) placed ninth.

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