Four years. Four state qualifications. And to cap it all off, a 13th-place finish at state.
Kaneland senior golfer Josh Pehl wrapped up a stellar career with his highest finish at the season finale, qualifying along with senior teammate Cody Ganzon.
“Words can’t even describe how awesome it is,” Pehl said. “Those experiences down there, with the team my freshman year and Cody our sophomore and senior years, it’s an awesome, awesome experience I’ll get to look forward to having more of in college.”
Pehl was all-conference in the Interstate this average and averaged a 36.8 per nine holes, carding a 74-73—147 at state. He was named the Daily Chronicle 2021 Boys Golf Player of the Year.
Pehl said a goal for him this year was to help the team qualify for state, as it did when he was a freshman. And while that didn’t pan out, he did return to the state tournament for the first time since he and Ganzon qualified as sophomores. The tournament was not held last year, although sectionals were.
“It was awesome,” Pehl said. “Obviously last year we didn’t have state, but Cody and I got there our sophomore year. That year was more like just taking it all in, along with our freshman year - although our freshman year we were there as a team. But our sophomore year we were just happy to be there and make the cut, where this year we went in with the mindset if we can put two good rounds together, we can definitely place top 10, top 5.”
Pehl said although his score wasn’t exactly what he hoped for at state, he said that it was probably the best rounds he played.
“Obviously things didn’t go particularly my way,” Pehl said. “I mean, I played really well. I hate to say it, but those are probably the two best rounds I’ve ever played without showing through my score. At 5 over, I was pleased, but I just hit the ball fantastically. It was a great experience hanging out with Cody and getting to compete for a state medal.”
Coach Mark Meyer said Pehl’s short game has always been great. But this year he had a growth spurt before the season, and the extra height aided his long game, as well.
“For so long, his short game needed to be really good because he wasn’t necessarily going to hit all the greens in regulation,” Meyer said. “He’s always had a really good game from 75 yards in, and that continued this year for sure along with adding a little bit of distance. He probably put on 7 inches in the last year-and-a-half, so he grew quite a bit, which added distance to his game, and he kept that excellent short game he always had.”
Meyer said he was thrilled with the way the year went for Pehl.
“He definitely lived up to the expectations, playing No. 1 on the team and carrying us to another conference championship, regional championship and great performance as an individual downstate” Meyer said. “I knew he had the potential to play that well, and he certainly lived up to it.”