STERLING — Blistery conditions and challenging greens presented the toughest obstacles for Rochelle golfers during the IHSA 2A Sterling Regional at Emerald Hill on Tuesday.
The Hubs fought hard throughout the tournament, ranking as high as fifth place in the team standings before ultimately finishing eighth out of 10 schools with a final score of 393. Senior Reese Kirk, who was tied for seventh place overall at one point during the afternoon, led Rochelle with a 93 while sophomore Griffin Ohlinger added a 98 for the Hubs.
“The kids had a lot to deal with today,” head coach Glen Mehrings said. “It was windy today, there were fast greens and there was a lot of pressure because it was a regional tournament. The kids performed as well as they could and I thought they fought hard throughout the day. They came up a little short at the end, but I thought we fared as well as we could have.”
Sophomore Damen Harrington and senior Dominic Williams carded 100 and 102, respectively, while junior Brett Ferguson and sophomore Wade Smith rounded out Rochelle’s varsity lineup with 106 and 125, respectively. Although windy conditions affected many players throughout the tournament, the combination of sloped and slippery greens made putting extremely tough. Mehrings said the tournament was a good learning experience for players returning next year.
“Griffin and Damen are two talented sophomores who are coming back next season,” Mehrings said. “The kids are realizing that they have to putt well under pressure. When the kids get nervous, those 2-foot putts start looking like 5-footers and those misses will wear on young players as the tournament goes on. Having a good putting routine and getting comfortable on the greens make a big difference, and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that today.”