For the first time since 2011, Homewood-Flossmoor girls golf advanced into the second round of the postseason as a team.
H-F posted a 341, the low team score, in last week’s Palos Heights regional. Mother McAuley was 23 strokes back in second. Vikings junior Julia Henry was the medalist, shooting a 70 that was 13 strokes better than the field.
“It’s always good as a team. Golf is such an individual sport but when you can rally around each other, it’s just good for everybody,” coach Tony Kruse said. “It’s good for everybody in our program. We haven’t gotten back there for quite a while so for everyone to make it, it’s super exciting for the girls.”
Henry put together a great day, fueled by her play on the greens. Kruse said he expected her to card a low score, though 70 was even lower than he thought.
“Julia, I always expect to go low. She’s a heck of a player and comes from a great golf family,” he said. “She’s been solid all year and hadn’t quite had that one marquee round she’d been looking for. I think she got it at the regional.”
Kruse said he knew his team had a good shot in the regional. They’d seen some of the other teams during the regular season and had a good idea what they were up against. Marist and McAuley were expected to join H-F in the top three.
“I felt like we were definitely going to compete for the championship of our regional, but obviously with golf you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We weren’t exactly sure who’d come out on top but I’m glad we did.”
Junior Morgan Kimmons posted a personal best. Her 83 was good for second place and key to H-F moving on as a team. Senior Kendall Laven shot a 91, also an individual record.
“For Kendall and Morgan to come out and play the way that they did, that really gave us that boost that we needed,” Kruse said. “We knew Julia would go low, so to have Morgan and Kendall do what they did was really awesome to see.”
The Vikings posted a 382 team score in Monday’s sectional at Carriage Greens in Darien. They knew going in they were an underdog to advance to state as a team. The field included returning Class 2A state champion Hinsdale Central -which won with a 287- and several other highly-ranked teams.
Henry’s 83 just missed the cut to advance as an individual.
But Laven is H-F’s only senior, so the experience of golfing in a sectional is important for a team that will have bigger goals next fall.
“You play conference matches and stuff, but a sectional is almost like a playoff. It’s a win or go home mentality you have to have,” Kruse said. “To have that pressure and be able to see it, hopefully we can get back there next year as a team and they’ve already been in that.”