Illiana Christian senior Braden Mulder didn't play golf as a freshman. When he decided to to try out as a sophomore, his grandfather told him it would be tough.
"My grandpa said I wouldn't make the cut," Mulder said. "He said it would be tough, so I went out that summer and just worked on my game."
Mulder made the team and is one of three Vikings to qualify as individuals for today's Class 2A Lemont Sectional. Teammates Jonathan Zandstra and Elliott Chapman also qualified from Tuesday's Joliet Catholic Regional.
"I woke up in the morning and played golf and then played baseball in the afternoon," Mulder said. "I just worked on my game, even after I made the team. I just want to keep getting better."
Illiana coach Jack Rudenga said Mulder has shown the leadership expected of a senior.
"He leads by what he does as much as what he says. Braden has been one of our top golfers in both match play and tournament play," Rudenga said. "He has a very good short game that allows Braden to play well in every competition."
Mulder credits Rudenga for a lot of the team's success.
"Coach Rudenga really works with us and encourages us," Mulder said. "He teaches us about the game."
Mulder hopes to play baseball in college and is a left-handed pitcher on the Illiana baseball team.
"I know baseball is my No. 1 sport, but I really enjoy golf," Mulder said. "We have a good team and good teammates. We wanted to go to sectionals as a team, but we came up a little short.
"When I play golf, I am really relaxed."
The Vikings were fourth and the top three teams make it out of regionals.
"I want to do well (today), and if one of us or all three of us can go to state, that would be great," Mulder said. "I just hope I am on my game because you can have an off day. If I hit a bad, shot, I (will) try to move on and not let it bother me."