Boys golf: Dykema, Wheaton Academy go low to win regional
Wheaton Academy senior Sam Dykema played nearly flawless golf on Wednesday afternoon.
He needed just four shots on 14 of the 18 holes at St. Andrews Golf Course in West Chicago.
He carded a 70 to earn meet medalist at the Class 2A Benet regional.
But Dykema, a seasoned golfer with an extensive list of awards, was one of the last participants to leave for the parking lot after all the awards were handed out.
Dykema had a good reason for his delay -- he couldn't find his golf bag.
That was one of the only flaws on an otherwise ideal day for Dykema.
His strong performance helped guide Wheaton Academy to the team title. The Warriors shot a 294 to claim top honors, advancing to Monday's St. Viator sectional. Benet and St. Viator (326) also punched a ticket to sectionals.
Dykema, an Indiana Wesleyan recruit, fired a 34 on the front nine.
"I felt really good the whole time out there today," Dykema said. "My swing throughout the season has been really good, but kind of gotten a little iffy going into this last week. I came here not the most confident, but made a par on the first hole and kept it rolling ever since. I made some good putts. The course was in great condition, and the greens were rolling pretty well."
Now Dkyema, a three-sport athlete, enters a familiar zone on Monday. He's won his last three sectional meets, including carding a 68 at the Brother Rice sectional last fall.
"The team played great today," Dykema said. "We've been up and down but we came together really well at regionals. This is the best score we've shot all year. We came together and pulled out the regionals and now onto sectionals.
"This feels really good, a confidence booster for me going into sectionals. My goal going into sectionals is to just win it. I've won sectionals three years, so to win it a fourth time would be awesome."
Benet sophomore Charlie Davenport was among the second-to-last group to finish the course. Davenport, in his second year on the varsity, finished runner-up to Dykema by shooting a 73. Wheaton Academy junior Joseph Luchtenburg placed third with a 74, while teammates Luke Pringle and Wyatt Brown tied for fourth place (75) with Benet's Ryan Dannegger.
"I feel pretty good, and I'm glad our team made it out of regionals," Davenport said. "We didn't play our best, but we're going to sectionals and hopefully can move to state. I really hit the ball nice, and my putting was good on the first 12 holes today. I'm glad I shot consistently. I feel more comfortable this year and able to focus on my golf better."
Dannegger, a three-year varsity member, said he's excited for the opportunity to compete at sectionals.
"I feel I definitely lost some shots out there on the putting green, but overall my ball striking was good," Dannegger said. "We're motivated as a team to see what we can change from last year. We have just as much talent as last year. Some of us haven't had the opportunity to go to state."
St. Viator coach Jack Halpin was just happy to advance to play on his home course on Monday.
"We struggled, but in regionals the only goal is to get the heck out and we got the heck out," Halpin said. "We're happy, so now everyone has to come to our home course in Old Orchard."
St. Francis golf coach Tony Perez said he was thrilled that three of his golfers advanced to sectionals -- freshman Beckett Jones, junior James Collie and junior Nicolas Sparacio.
"We've been playing a bunch of 18-hole invites and we were a confident team," Perez said. "We're a young team. I think they did great. We have a couple of kids who can make it to state. Beckett did great and is learning a lot and meshed well with the team. James has been a leader on the team and excited for him to advance and Nicolas stepped in nicely and played his best golf at the end of the year."