CRETE | Two schools played above their weight Tuesday in the T.F. North-T.F. South Invitational at Balmoral Woods Country Club.
Beecher, with the potential to make an impact in Class 1A this year, took fourth place behind the 7-over-par 79 of sophomore Michael Barber. And Illiana Christian, with the Zandstra brothers leading the way, placed second, scoring 40-over-par 328, 10 strokes behind champion Sandburg’s 30-over 318.
Matt Zandstra, a freshman, says older brother Jonathan, a senior, beats him 60 percent of the time. Not Tuesday, when Matt’s 5-over 77 earned him both team and family honors over Jonathan’s 79.
“I don’t think it will be like this every time out, but today it was,” the younger Zandstra said. “I felt comfortable today. I was expecting basically what I shot today, a good score to start off my season.”
He may be a freshman, but Matt Zandstra is already tournament tough.
A slate of IJGA and AJGA tournaments made the introduction to formal high school play just another day on the links.
For Beecher, the goal this year is simple, and achievable: “We want to go to state,” said the Bobcats as a group over a post-round snack.
Tuesday’s ringleader was Barber, whose 7-over-par 79 tied for fifth overall. Starting on the fifth hole, he needed only 28 putts to navigate Balmoral Woods’ treacherous greens, his day highlighted by a chip-in birdie on the par-4 18th, followed by a birdie on the par 5 first.
“My putting was my strength today,” Barber said. “I made three or four from over 10 feet. And 28 putts is four or five better than usual.”
Among area schools, Neil Doyle led Marian Catholic with an 8-over 80, while senior Miles Bailey paced Crete-Monee with an 86 he termed disappointing. T.F. North’s Dennis Minefee also turned in an 86, while Maggie Sloan led T.F. South with an 87. Jon Joffe posted an 88 for Homewood-Flossmoor.