Despite not carrying a single senior on its varsity roster in 2019, the Rochelle Township High School golf team managed to record its best season in recent years, winning six dual matches. The Hubs are set to return a pair of seniors this fall including third-year varsity player Reese Kirk, who will be striving to become one of the top golfers in the Interstate 8 Conference.
“My goals for my senior season are to make it to the sectional tournament and become a top-10 or top-5 player on the conference leaderboard,” Kirk said. “I felt that I performed pretty well last season. There were times where I could have made better shots, which could have put me in better situations to make more good shots. Even though we had a really young core, I thought we did great as a team, and it was fun seeing new players shoot new low scores.”
The 2020 season will not only be Kirk’s third on the varsity team, but his fourth as a member of the RTHS golf program. The former Most Improved Player Award winner said his club selection, his mental approach to the sport and envisioning his next shots are two factors that have brought his scores down from the high 50s to the low 50s and upper 40s.
Kirk’s top performances in 2019 included carding 45 in Rochelle’s home victory over the Sandwich Indians and shooting 45 in the team’s triangular sweep over Dixon and Freeport. Kirk made his most significant leap as a sophomore, elevating from the junior varsity team to the No. 3 varsity slot and eventually the No. 2 slot, which he then filled throughout his junior year.
“I thought I drove the ball well last season and I started off the tee much better,” Kirk said. “I set myself up for great fairway shots and I made shots less stressful than they would have been if I had to hit the ball out of the rough. I thought our team did well in setting ourselves up for our next shots, but I think we can improve on picking ourselves up after bad shots. Some expectations would be for us to shoot in the 40s on varsity and make a great run as a team.”