PLAINFIELD – Kailey White was amazed at herself.
The Lincoln-Way East senior had an great day.
White shot a career and school-best 6-under-par 65 to capture the individual title of the 21st annual Joliet Township Girls Golf Invite on Saturday at Wedgewood Golf Course in Plainfield.
In the process, she helped the Griffins to a second-place finish with a school-record team score of 311 in the prestigious tournament, which featured 20 teams from across the state.
“It was my best round ever,” said White, whose previous best was a 70. “I was just driving well, and I was dropping a lot of putts. I hit every green and birdied every par five. I was so excited and amazed with myself.
“I had seven birdies, one bogie and 10 pars. I birdied the last hole and then I had to call my dad (Tim). He had to work and couldn’t be here. I had him guess what I shot and he said ‘72.’ I told him ‘no, a 65.’ He was so happy for me.”
So was her mom, Wendy, who was there and had tears of joy during the final hole.
Afterward, Lincoln-Way East girls golf coach Mary McGivern scoured the team record book and discovered that it was a record-setting day for White and her team. The previous low individual score was a 2-under-par by Kelly Sterling in the 2014 SouthWest Suburban Conference Tournament at Sanctuary Golf Course in New Lenox. The previous team-best round was 317, set in 2019.
“You can’t have a much better round than that,” McGivern said of the 65. “Everything was falling into place and she was super consistent. She’s been a 4-year varsity golfer for us, and I couldn’t be more proud. Kailey and Natalie (Papa) have been 4-year varsity golfers and have seen their hard work pay off.”
Papa shot a 73, finishing in a four-way tie for eighth place. Senior Savannah Berner (86) and junior Olivia Martin (87) rounded out the top four carded scores for Lincoln-Way East.
“When one of us has a bad day, someone else picks them up,” White said. “As a team, we won our first two tournaments this season, the Plainfield North Invite and the Lincoln-Way Cup. Hopefully, we can qualify for state as a team.”
Senior Sarah Zheng paced team champion Neuqua Valley with a 1-under 70. She was one of three players for the Wildcats who shot 76 or better, helping them to a 305 total score.
The field featured 11 local teams with a trio of them making the Top 10. Wheaton St. Francis (318) was third, followed by Hinsdale Central (319), Edwardsville (322), Andrew (324), Lockport Township (328) placed seventh, Naperville North (329) was right behind and Oswego East (335) and Lincoln-Way West (335) tied for ninth.
Lizzie Anderson shot a 68 to tie for second individually with Edwardsville junior Nicole Johnson. The Lockport senior tied her best-ever 18-hole round.
“A 68 is my best, and I’ve done it three times, all on a par 71 course,” Anderson said. “It’s actually my first time ever playing this course. I practiced by myself [at Cog Hill on Friday] and made sure my short game was doing well. We [as a team] just have to keep doing what we are doing while working hard and having fun.”
Sophomore Giana White (81) and senior Bella Bozen (84) had the next two best scores for Lockport. But the Porters, who had a 95 and a pair of 99′s as their next best scores, needed a good fourth score to compete with the top teams.
For Kaylee Dwyer, staying even-keeled was key. The Lincoln-Way West golfer finished fourth overall with a 2-under 69. That’s pretty consistent for the sophomore, who won the individual title at the Lincoln-Way Cup with the same score only eight days earlier.
“I was driving pretty well,” Dwyer said. “I just went out and treated this (Joliet Invite) the same. I know it’s bigger, but I just want to keep my cool and play the same.”