Return of the Matt
Consistent Knight talent emerges as individual qualifier at Monday golf sectional
FREEPORT, Ill.—While there may not be quite the team accolades that the 2012 season brought, Kaneland golf still has plenty to be proud of.
After a productive Aurora Central Catholic Regional that saw the Knight golfer emerge as a third-place tiebreaker recipient, Kaneland suited up at Park Hills Golf Course in Freeport, Ill., on Monday for the Class AA Freeport Sectional.
Looking to book a repeat team trip back to the State tournament this coming week-end, Kaneland finished with a score of 335, good for sixth place. The Knights ended up just four team strokes from the qualifying mark, and saw their team season end.
The silver-and-black lining to the competition was the securing of a State slot for experienced senior Matt Yonkovich, who was an individual qualifier with a 78, tied for fifth-best. Also tied with Yonkovich were athletes Hunter Simonini of Marengo, Andrew Tichler of Rock Falls and Zack Spear of Wheaton Academy.
A year ago, Yonkovich as a junior finished 42nd in the entire state with an 83 effort. The second round was cancelled due to inclement weather.
The senior looks to bring his competitive streak, according to KHS coach Mark Meyer.
“Matt always puts pressure on himself to succeed, no matter if it is a team or individual competition,” Meyer said. “He expects the best from himself in every match. Sometimes these expectations are unrealistic, and he could benefit from tempering his emotions during the round.”
Sectional medalist honors for the afternoon went to Dixon senior Ryan Dixon with a 71.
The top three teams in the meet that head down to Normal, Ill., are Boylan Catholic with a 310 score, Burlington Central with a 317 and Sterling with a 331.
After Yonkovich’s effort, Knight teammates’ eventful outing ended with an 85 from fellow senior Stephen Cannell, an 86 from both junior Jeremy Faletto and senior Brody Kuhar, a 90 from junior Jesse Denton and a 92 from freshman Jake Hed.
With only two returnees from last year’s State trek in the form of Yonkovich and Kuhar, inexperience in a pivotal setting may have taken hold.
“Our performance yesterday may have had to do with the lack of experience in the state tournament from four of our players. We started pressing after a slow, slow start, and sometimes that compounds errors,” Meyer said.
The Normal, Ill.-based Class AA State tournament swings away on Friday-Saturday, Oct. 18-19, at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University.