Girls golf: Hinsdale Central, Neuqua, Waubonsie advance to sectionals
Elyssa Abdullah was right in her element Thursday, a black long-sleeved shirt pulled underneath her red Hinsdale Central top, and black pants.
"I'm really a big fan of this weather, fall weather," said Abdullah, a Hinsdale Central sophomore. "I love playing in it. I love wearing long sleeves and pants."
The crisp fall conditions were indeed tailor made for some red-hot golf.
Abdullah fired a 4-under par 67, with teammate Sarah Thornton right on her heels with a 68. Hinsdale Central as a team shot a sizzling 281 for a 24-shot win and the championship of the Class 2A Plainfield North Regional at Whitetail Ridge Golf Course.
Freshman Lilly Riegger shot a 72 and Caroline Owens and Toral Bhatt posted a 74 for Hinsdale Central, which had five of the top eight scores.
"Really proud of how we did," Thornton said. "Everyone played well."
Abdullah, who tied for fourth at state last year as a freshman, appears poised for another big postseason. She was medalist at the West Suburban Silver meet last week, leading Hinsdale Central to a conference championship.
On Thursday, she birdied two of her first four holes and ended up with four birdies and an eagle with a long putt on the 483-yard par 5 second hole. And her round could have even been better.
"My putting was pretty solid today, had a lot of good shots, a lot of good birdie opportunities," Abdullah said. "But I missed a lot of them, especially short ones which was annoying. But I'm proud with how I played, proud of the whole team."
Only her teammate prevented Thornton, a senior, from winning her fourth straight regional title. Thornton, Abdullah and the Red Devils took fourth at state last year, and now move on to the sectional next Monday at the Village Greens of Woodridge.
"It's good not to get too ahead of ourselves," Thornton said. "At the same time proud of how we did. We're moving in the right direction."
Neuqua Valley (305) and Waubonsie Valley (340) also advanced its teams to next week's sectional meet.
Neuqua's Sophie Lagman, who tied for medalist honors at last week's DuPage Valley Conference meet for the DVC champ Wildcats, shot a 1-under 70 Thursday for third place. And she finished strong. Lagman hit a shot into the sand on her second-to-last hole, but chipped in and made birdie.
"I've played this course a lot, so I was really familiar with it and that helped me out," Lagman said. "I was hitting pretty well, even warming up I felt good. I was just calm the whole day. I think sectionals next week will be four strong schools fighting for three spots, but I think we'll be in those spots."
Waubonsie was paced by junior Kelly Cong, who shot a 74 to tie for sixth place.
Yorkville senior Mia Natividad was plenty familiar with the Whitetail Ridge track.
Natividad won her fourth straight Southwest Prairie Conference championship on the course last week. Natividad, who tied for second at state last year, did one shot better than conference on Thursday, posting a 72 to tie for fourth place.
"I feel pretty good about it, just moving to the next round is always good," Natividad said. "It was a pretty easygoing round, nothing out of the ordinary. I'll be keeping up my putting drills in the next week, probably get in some range sessions and then start playing back a little more. I only hit driver once today, I know state and sectionals I will probably hit it a little more."
Natividad will be joined at sectionals by fellow Yorkville senior Laine Leonard, who shot an 18-hole career-low 78 to tie for 10th place.
"I shocked myself," said Leonard, whose previous 18-hole best was 86. "My putting was on today. I've been struggling a little bit and it was nice to see putts drop in. The speed on my putts was much better."
Other advancing individuals included Oswego Co-Op's Katelin Hong (79), Downers Grove South's Miah Wanserski (79) and Katherine Olson (89), Plainfield East's Lauren Reinertson (87), Alyssa Siegfried (90) and Madi Fauth (91) and Plainfield North's Grace Gilbert (88) and Rodessa Jones (89).
The three golfers advancing is the most-ever for Plainfield East. Reinertson improved on her conference showing at Whitetail by 12 shots and teammate Gianna D'amico made a hole-in-one.
"My ball striking was much better," Reinertson said. "I had some putts that I could have played better but overall it went really well. I had a couple blow up holes but for the most part was really consistent."