Hole-in-one a reason to smile
PLAINFIELD — Michael McPherson and Trevor Lines finished close enough to the state cut at Monday's Nazareth Academy Boys Golf Sectional that they were left contemplating shots they missed.
Coal City freshman Matt Gubelman was never a serious threat to advance, but there was at least one hole that he could not have played better.
Gubelman's ace on the 203-yard fourth hole of the Red Course at The Lines at Carillon served as an area highlight for the sectional, where no locals advanced. Lines and especially McPherson thought they had a chance when they initially finished, but as more scores came in, it became clear they had just missed. Neither was upset with their rounds overall in the chilly, windy conditions, though they both had regrets on the greens.
"I'm happy with how I played," McPherson said after shooting a 42 on his first nine holes and a 43 on his second. Golfers played the Red and White courses at Carillon. "If I wouldn't have three-putted on three specific holes, I would have had a chance. I guess I would have made it."
In addition to his putter, Lines said that one other club gave him difficulty — and that it could have been avoided. He finished with an 86, firing a 44 on one nine and a 42 on the other.
"I lipped out a couple of putts. One was a 50-footer on my third-to-last hole. It's hard to be upset about missing that, but I also missed a three-footer on my second-to-last hole and that shouldn't happen," Lines said. "I started off hitting my driver way too often. I wasn't hitting it well, and I took too long to go to my 3-wood because I was being stubborn."
While McPherson, a senior, and Lines, a junior, may have had high expectations entering the postseason, Gubelman admits he did not even expect to qualify for a sectional. He finished Monday's round with a score one stroke higher than what he fired at last week's Joliet Catholic Academy Regional, but his first career hole-in-one may have been worth the increase.
"I hit a 7-iron. I played the wind to bring it back. It landed probably a couple of feet off the green in the fringe and rolled maybe 15 feet up a slope and in," Gubelman said. "I had no clue (initially). As we were walking up there, I told the guy with me, 'Wouldn't it be funny if I made that.' Then when we were walking closer, he said, 'You did. It's in.' He couldn't see it — he was just joking — but it turned out that it was."
Gubelman also birdied his final hole, the par-4 ninth on the Red Course, preventing his score from reaching triple digits.
Justin Larsen of Morris was in Gubelman's group and said he did not even realize the ace had happened until after the hole was over. Larsen may have been preoccupied with his own round, which ended with a 98 that he considered disappointing. He fired a 53 on the White Course before rallying with a 45 on the Red.
"I started off with three straight pars and started bogeying from there," Larsen said. "This course can be kind of tricky, and it plays pretty long, and some stupid mistakes by me turned into some double bogeys."
Senior Ryan Borgstrom also competed for the Redskins. He capped his career with a 99, firing a 48 on his first nine holes and a 51 on his second.
"I was never able to find the right groove. My approach shots were off. I really struggled with those," Borgstrom said. "I like the course. It's long. There's a lot of out of bounds. I was able to avoid it, for the most part."
There was a multi-way tie for the final state berth. While the Redskins finished short of that mark, coach Matt Lafond was pleased with their showing, and with the season as a whole.
"I'm happy with what Michael and Trevor shot. I know Justin wanted to shoot better than he did, and if you'd have asked me this morning, I would have said I expected better from him. But as long as I know they're giving their best effort, I can't complain," Lafond said.