BRISTOL – TJ Quinn knows Blackberry Oaks Golf Course extremely well.
Playing it for the sixth time this season, the Minooka junior had his best round at the Bristol course, shooting an even-par 72 on Wednesday morning to lead the Indians to the Southwest Prairie Conference title.
“I’ve played this course more than our home course so I have a lot of familiarity,” he said. “This was kind of my first good round at this course this year. I’ve shot a couple over a couple of times, but I usually struggle out here and today I just kind of put it all together.”
Quinn was solid from start to finish, earning a pair of birdies, bogeying twice and registering 14 pars.
“My driver was off today, but I was hitting greens and two-putting everything,” he said. “It was kind of wet and (the ball) would stop for you. I’d hit my wedge and stick them where I could two-putt everything and feel comfortable.”
Behind Quinn’s 72, senior Brett Widlowski’s 73, junior Luke Purcell’s 78 and senior Grant Gould’s 81, Minooka finished nine strikes ahead of runner-up Plainfield North, 304 to 313.
“Brett played pretty well, he made a lot of birdies (five),” Quinn said. “A couple kids left a lot of shots out there, but overall they felt they were pretty happy with how they played today.”
The Tigers played well enough to secure second place behind junior Casey Sanborn’s 74. A trio of seniors, led by Jackson Floros’ 78 followed Sanborn while Evan Czarnik had an 80 and Luke Harmon added an 81.
Yorkville senior Justin Goebel finished with a 1-over 73 to tie Widlowski for second place and help the Foxes earn third place.
“I started off with a birdie and from there it was six or seven straight pars,” Goebel said. “It was a good round. I had a few holes where I had a bogey here or there, but so far this was the best I’ve played this year.”
And most definitely the best he’s played at Blackberry Oaks.
“This is my home course, I’m a member out here so I play it a lot,” he said. “When I get on a green I have an idea of what the putt is going to do.”
Evan Peterson fired an 80 for the Foxes while fellow juniors Joe Zook and Ethan Hanson carded an 83 and 84 respectively to finish their team scoring. Senior Logan Tuymer also carded an 84 for the Foxes.
“I think that was one of the best rounds we’ve played as a team,” Goebel said. “Some guys have been all over the place at times. We’ve worked really hard this season and usually practice every day so to see us breakthrough and put a good score, I’m just proud of this team.”
Oswego, Oswego East and Joliet Township each finished with a 325 for a three-way tie, with the Panthers winning the tie-breaker followed by the Wolves and Steelmen.
Juniors Jack Wolcott and Matt Matile paced the Panthers, each finishing with an 80.
“It was a good day with a couple of bumps here and there,” Matile said. “I had a lot of birdies (3) and lot of doubles (bogeys, 3). I had to stay in it the whole day and finish. Normally I start off well and then end bad. Today it was good to just finally have a good finish. I kept it in play all day which was good.”
Matile’s progression to becoming an all-conference golfer can be traced back to his hard work and commitment to getting better before the season started.
“Last year I don’t think I even got a conference point so this has been a big improvement for me,” he said. “I worked over the winter and really hard in the summer. I was always out at Whitetail (Ridge Golf Club) in Yorkville putting in work.”
The Panthers also counted freshman Declan Chavez’s 82 and senior Justin Winters’ 83, while sophomore Michael Holmstom had an 85 and junior Robbie Wilson had an 86, as just six strokes separated Oswego’s top six players.
“We played really well as a team today,” Matile said. “This whole season has been a little rough so finally putting something together and placing fourth was good.”
Junior Cooper Price led the Wolves with a 77, tying for fifth place overall with Plainfield South sophomore Jonah Powell. Senior Connor Banks had an 81, junior Alex Soczka finished with an 83 and Zach Johnson had an 84 for the Wolves while senior Andy Lewis and sophomore Logan Hong each had an 86.
Romeoville senior Danny Myers and Joliet Township senior Lincoln Chizmark tied for seventh place with Floros and Purcell, each with a 6-over-par 78.