LA SALLE – Although its counters were all below 90, most were not low enough for Morris to contend for the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference boys golf championship Wednesday.
Behind Justin Larsen’s 79, the Redskins finished eighth with 342 strokes at the conference tournament at Senica’s Oak Ridge.
Yorkville won the tournament with a 308, defeating DeKalb’s 312.
Larsen, along with DeKalb’s Connor Hoyle and Ben Melms and Rochelle’s Alec Beach, was one of four golfers to tie for ninth place individually with a 79.
Fred Washburn of Yorkville shot a 70 to edge out teammate Evan Dill as medalist.
“When you’re hitting the ball as good as I was today, it’s frustrating to go and shoot a 79, because I felt like I was unstoppable, basically,” Larsen said.
“I started in with a chip-in [for birdie] on one, and that was a really nice start. I just basically parred out until the last few holes and had a bogey, made a birdie. Any time I had a bogey, I could always come back and make a birdie, but it didn’t work the same on the back. I think if there was anything that killed me today, it might have been putting, but I think really it all came down to the mental game.”
Two other Morris golfers, Jacob Cobian and Trevor Lines, shot 87s, earning them ties with Ryan Dixon of Dixon and Kevin Wolak of Geneseo for 42nd place.
“Well I started out really well, and I had a couple blow-up holes, which really killed me,” Cobian said.
“I was even, then I got a triple [bogey], and that just tore me down. Then I went bogey-bogey-par-bogey-par, then I got another double. ...You gotta forget about [poor holes].
“If I could’ve forgot about ‘em, I probably could have shot better, but I held onto it.”
The final Morris counting score was an 89 from Nick McPherson, which was good for a tie for 46th place with Keegan White of Sycamore. Noncounters were Jake Hulbert with a 91 and Nick Bonomo with a 96.
“Golf’s a crazy game,” Morris coach Matt Lafond said. “You can be on top of the world one second and be down in the trenches the next. I think we did a heck of a job fighting through it and battling through. We were a little high. ... That’ll be tough, to win regionals with that score. First time we played this course this year, I think we’re OK.”
Morris will not play again until Tuesday’s 2A McNamara Regional, which will be at Kankakee Elks Country Club in St. Anne.
It is the same course at which Morris won a regional championship two years ago, although among current players, only Lines contributed to that feat.
“I feel like going into regionals, I’m in a really solid position,” Larsen said. “If I can just keep my head straight and continue to strike the ball the way I have been, then I feel like I could definitely put up some good scores coming up here pretty soon.”
Morris totaled a 409 in the junior varsity tournament, placing ninth.
Counting scores for the Redskins were a 98 from Kyle Jacobson, a 102 from Tony Menozi, a 104 from Andy Peters and a 105 from Dylan Callahan.