High school boys golf: Prairie Ridge wins 10-team McHenry Invitational

McHENRY – When Prairie Ridge No. 6 golfer Jason Giffels turned in his rain-soaked scorecard Saturday at McHenry Country Club, the Wolves and the rest of the 10-team field knew: Prairie Ridge had won again.

Giffels was one of four Wolves to earn top-10 medals at the McHenry Invitational. Prairie Ridge, playing in its fourth tournament of the season, came away with its fourth consecutive title with a 309 – 13 strokes better than runner-up Jacobs (322). Stevenson was third with a 323.

After receiving the tournament plaque and posing for photos with his teammates, Giffels stated the obvious.

“I think we’re really good,” the 6-foot-2 senior said after his best 18-hole finish of the fall. “Any one of us can score on any day.”

Prairie Ridge also has won tournaments at the Cary-Grove Foxford Hills Invitational (307), Crystal Lake South Boulder Ridge Summer Classic (319) and the Barrington Biltmore Classic (315).

And, last week, the Wolves were three strokes short of tying a school record with a nine-hole 143.

“It’s just fun because it’s different every time,” Prairie Ridge coach Jonathan Powell said. “We’re getting four guys to score each time, which is the name of the game in high school golf. Jason came in today with his 81, which was really big. I’m just excited for him, because I know he’s been looking for that.”

Senior Cameron Karney took medalist honors with a 1-over-par 72, junior Dominic Leli placed third with a 76, senior James Michaelson was eighth with an 80, and Giffels took ninth with an 81.

Karney, who qualified for the Class 3A state tournament as a junior, had three birdies, shooting even par on the front nine and 1 over on the back. Leli, who was runner-up at the Crystal Lake South Invitational, missed second place by two strokes. That honor went to Harlem’s Austin Young.

“Cameron kind of blew out the field today, which is just fun to see,” Powell said. “He’s just got so much confidence. He’s so comfortable, and I hope people are kind of watching him because he’s really turned into a mature golfer, and a very consistent golfer.”

“The biggest thing about Dominic has been his consistency, too, which is very cool to see. He’s, academically, been on top of things from Day 1. Seeing the maturity in him is the most exciting part.”

Prairie Ridge’s next tournament isn’t until Sept. 14 at the Dundee-Crown Charger Classic. However, the Wolves have important Fox Valley Conference duals coming up against Jacobs and Crystal Lake South before then.

The Wolves recently found out that they will be competing in Class 2A this year as opposed to 3A.

“It’s different because we’ve always known the teams in 3A, and we knew who we had to beat,” Karney said. “Now it’s a whole different venue with new teams. Usually, [the scores] are a little higher, but it’s still golf. In order to be top three, you still have to go out there and put up a very good number. You never know who is going to go low on any certain day.”

Other local golfers finishing in the top 10 were Jacobs’ John Wilken (78, fifth place), Cary-Grove’s Trevor Brandon (79, seventh place), and Jacobs’ Garrett Tighe (81, 10th).

Cary-Grove finished fourth as a team with a 330, Crystal Lake South (339) was fifth, McHenry (357) was seventh, and Crystal Lake Central (363) was 10th.