Lizzie Anderson and Kailey White were both at the IHSA girls golf state finals as freshmen.
“It snowed,” said White, a Lincoln-Way East senior of the conditions that day. “I couldn’t even see the ball in the snowy, sleet conditions.”
While it was a whiteout for White on that Friday, October 12, 2018, this past Saturday was much better. That’s because White, along with Anderson, a fellow senior from Lockport Township, finished as state medalists to cap off their high school careers.
They both shot 148 for the 2-day tournament, which was 4-over par, and both finished in a 5-way tie for seventh place. They were only a stroke out of a tie for fourth. Mara Janess, a senior from Barrington, won the individual crown by four strokes with a 3-under 141.
Janess’ score helped Barrington (595) take the Class 2A team title as well. Stevenson (610) was second and Loyola Academy (612) placed third on a beautiful day with temps in the 80s at Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth.
“It was a fun tournament and I enjoyed it,” Anderson said. “My wedges were really good and my irons from 120 in were good. I was on the fairway a lot.”
It would be easy for both golfers to lament what could have been. White was in the lead but had a bad 14th hole and finished the back nine with a 40, after having a 1-under 35 on the front nine. But she focused on the positives.
“I had a 25-foot putt for par on the final hole and that helped save me,” said White, who had six birdies on the tournament. “I had good, solid rounds. The rough is good here too.
“I did a lot better this weekend than my freshman year (not making the 2nd-day cut). I think I moved up 110 spots (actually 93).”
White is the first Griffin girls golfer to medal not named Sterling. Kathy Sterling was 12th in 2009 and 10th in 2010. Kelly Sterling was the most recent Lincoln-Way East medalist, finishing sixth in Class 2A in 2014.
Making par on the final two holes could have potentially moved Anderson into fourth place by herself. She had a bogey on each hole instead but still will remember the fun of the group she played with rather than those two holes.
“I hit into a bunker with a drive and missed a 5-foot putt on 17 and then I 3-putted on 18,” Anderson said. “But I played with my friend Catie Nekola (who tied for 4th with a 147) from St. Charles North and also Kaylee Dwyer from Lincoln-Way West. I had never played with Kaylee before and it was great.”
Anderson becomes the fourth Lockport medalist and first one in 34 years. Her seventh-place finish is also the highest in school history. Margie Arnold placed eighth in 1987, Tracy Djerf was 11th in 1980, and Johanna Johandes finished 14th in 1987.
This season, Anderson won the SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue Division, individual championship, and was also the individual medalist at the Andrew Regional in helping the Porters to the team title there too. She is still undecided about a college choice.
“She had a terrific season,” Lockport coach Matt Major said of Anderson. “Lizzie was working really hard down the stretch and her overall game is just great. She was consistent here and I’m really proud of her.”
White shot a career-best 6-under 65 on Aug. 21 to win the individual title of the 21st Annual Joliet Township Girls Golf Invite at Wedgewood Golf Course in Plainfield. She leaves high school as a state medalist and will attend Western Michigan University to continue her career.
“I committed at the beginning of September and I’m so excited,” White said of going to Western Michigan. “This has been a really nice season and it’s been awesome to have great coaches here for the past four years.”
The feeling was mutual with Griffin coach Mary McGivern.
“She had one tough hole on the 14th but battled back to finish strong,” McGivern said. “When Kailey and Natalie (Papa) look back at this they can’t be any more proud of their accomplishments to play varsity golf for four years and have it end here at state.”
Papa, also a senior at Lincoln-Way East, finished with a 168 (tied for 66th). Dwyer, a sophomore from Lincoln-Way West shot a very respectable 153 to tie for 24th overall. Lincoln-Way Central senior Claire Dubois (164) tied for 53rd out of the 95 golfers that played both days.