SHELDON — A dozen of the area’s boys golf teams squared off at Shewami Country Club on Monday in IHSA regional action, with Beecher claiming the regional crown with a 347.
Peotone (361) and Grant Park (367) took second and third to also advance to team sectional action.
Beecher wins regional championship
A year removed from a trip to state, Beecher moved one step closer to another state bid after defeating second-place Peotone by 14 strokes to claim the title.
Brady Serafin (77) and Eric Stasko (82) had the lowest scores of the day for the Bobcats, followed by Jake Graniczny (92) and Brendan Bunte (96).
“It was a hard-fought win today,” Bobcats coach Kevin Serafin said. “The course seemed to be a difficult play today for most of our players out there. But I was happy to see that our No. 1 [Brady Serafin] and No. 2 [Stasko] played well enough to carry our team today.”
Kevin Serafin said two golfers especially impressed him with how they finished after getting off to shaky starts.
“I was happy to see how Brady bounced back after initially struggling and eventually ended up posting a 77, which was a very important score for our team.
“And then on the other end of the spectrum, our No. 6 player, Graniczny, did a fantastic job,” he added. “After taking a 10 on the first hole, we calmed him down, and he went on to card a very solid 92 as only a freshman. That was enormous for us.”
Dulin takes Medalist Honors
Grant Park junior Ryan Dulin took home medalist honors after shooting a round best 74 to finish three-over par on the day. The two-time TVC player of the year shot four over par (39) on the front nine before shooting one-under-par (35) on the back nine, beating out Brady Serafin (76) by two strokes.
“Ryan’s round was outstanding today — the kid’s just got it,” Grant Park coach Andy Dillman said. “He has a level of competitiveness that can’t be taught. He doesn’t like to lose at all, and he’s found a way to get it done when it mattered the most.”
Dulin also noted how important it was to keep his composure during the marathon 18-hole event.
“Golf is probably 95 percent mental and 5 percent skill,” Dulin said. “If you can keep your composure for 18 holes, you can score pretty well. You’re gonna hit good shots and bad shots, but you just gotta keep moving on and keep playing.”
Dulin said two parts of his technical play stood out to him.
“Today was all about getting off the tee,” Dulin said. “I got off the tee really well, and that’s what led to my low score on the back nine. And my shots from 70 yards with my 54-degree wedge also were some of my best shots of the day. I stuck most of them within a few feet and set myself up with easy tap in putts.”
Peotone and Grant Park also advance
Peotone also advanced out of regional play after finishing second with a score of 361. Connor Janik (83), Miles Heflin (90), Matthew Derkacy (92) and Marty Merigold (96) scored for the Blue Devils.
First-year Blue Devils coach Bill Sander said he was pleasantly surprised with the day’s result.
“It was more than I expected to be completely honest,” Sander said. “We have a young team with only two seniors. I give our kids a lot of credit for continuing to learn throughout the year and continuing to improve. And they really came through big for us today. It’s nice in my first season to see them advance.”
Grant Park (367) also advanced out of regional play after finishing in third place. After Dulin (74), Darren Wagner (86), Luke Techau (103) and Andrew Fulk (104) carded for the Dragons.
“Overall, I’m really happy and proud of our team. Sometimes in golf, it’s hard to have that team mindset, but our guys did that today,” Dillman said. “The team really pulled it together after struggling on the front nine. We finally found our strokes on the back nine. And that was really the difference between us advancing or getting sixth or seventh place in this tightly contested regional.”
Area Individuals Advancing (Not on advancing teams)
Lukas Ball, 79, Watseka
James Birch, 87, Milford
Brooks Schoon, 89, St. Anne
Kade Kimmel, 91, Iroquois West
Ryan Tilstra, 92, Iroquois West
C.J. VanHoveIn, 95, Milford
Jordan Schroeder, 95, Watseka
Leevi Bruens, 97, Watseka