Golf: Hubs challenged against Morris at Nettle Creek

Thiravong, Ohlinger lead Rochelle in 172-177 loss to Redskins

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MORRIS — While the Rochelle Township High School golf team normally faces the Morris Redskins at Morris Country Club, Tuesday’s match between the Hubs and Redskins brought both programs together at Nettle Creek for a competitive Interstate 8 Conference contest.

Senior Megan Thiravong and sophomore Griffin Ohlinger recovered from tough rounds against LaSalle-Peru earlier this week, leading the Hubs with 39 and 41, respectively, when the Hubs teed off with the Redskins on Tuesday. Senior Reese Kirk followed with 46 for Rochelle, but Morris held on for a 172-177 victory, dropping the Hubs to 6-5 and 2-4 in the conference.

“We’ve never played Nettle Creek before so the kids had to adjust on the fly,” head coach Glen Mehrings said. “It’s a tough course for players who use their sight lines well and try to club themselves accordingly. I thought they adjusted well, and it was nice to see Megan and Griffin bounce back as well. It was an unseen site for our kids but I thought they adapted pretty well.”

Junior Brett Ferguson carded 51 to round out Rochelle’s top four varsity players Tuesday. Mehrings said both the large, fast greens and the links-style layout of Nettle Creek, which plays slightly longer than Morris Country Club, presented the biggest challenges for the Hubs.

“Nettle Creek had the biggest greens we’ve seen all season,” Mehrings said. “It’s a links style course and there are a lot of hills and undulations as well as hidden bunkers, which can make it difficult for the players to know how far they need to hit the ball to carry a trap. The course was wide open, but the greens were quick and the kids really had to play the break. It was good for the kids to play those sorts of greens because they don’t get to see them very often.”

Rochelle will close out the regular season this week before beginning the Interstate 8 Championships next Monday and Tuesday. The boys will play at Bliss Creek Golf Course on Monday at noon, while the girls will play at Sycamore Golf Course on Tuesday at 10 a.m.