Oak Park and River Forest High School golfers Liam Spillane (left) and Nathan Bibbey qualified for the IHSA Class 3A State Finals this weekend after fine rounds at the Lyons Township Sectional on Oct. 4 | Provided

The Oak Park and River Forest High School boys golf team saved its best performance for last on Oct. 4 at the IHSA Class 3A Lyons Township Sectional.

Although they didn’t advance downstate as a team, the Huskies shot a season-best 299 while finishing fifth. Moreover, two individuals punched their tickets to The Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington — the site of the Class 3A state finals — for Oct. 8 and 9.

Senior Liam Spillane shot a 2-under 70, while senior Nathan Bibbey qualified in dramatic fashion. Needing a birdie on the 18th hole in order to force a playoff, he did so by tapping in a short putt to finish with a 2-over 74. Then, he clinched his spot with another birdie on the first playoff hole.

It was the second time in less than a week that Bibbey had a thrilling ending to his round. At the Niles West Regional on Sept. 29, he tapped in a birdie on 18 to claim the regional title.

“It was remarkable. The way Nathan won it was incredible,” said OPRF coach Bill Young of Bibbey’s regional effort. “He got off to a terrible start (+5 after the first three holes), but he shot a 32 on the back nine, including five birdies.”

Senior Niko Haas just missed out on qualifying for state by one shot, posting a 75 in the sectional.

Fenwick girls advance sisters to state meet

Fenwick High School advanced two golfers to the IHSA Class 2A girls state finals Oct. 8 and 9 at Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth from the Conant Sectional on Oct. 4.

Senior Lillian Bateman’s 75 was good enough for second, while junior Charlotte Bateman (Lillian’s sister) also qualified with an 83.

“They’ve both been consistently excellent,” said Fenwick coach Mike Trankina. “Lillian’s been our number one the whole season, and she’s been a rising star her entire four years. I know I can always count on her. And one thing that I was amazed with Charlotte today was that her score on the same course improved by over 40 strokes from two years ago.”

Trankina is grateful that Charlotte Bateman will return to lead the Friars next fall, considering there will be plenty of experienced players on hand, including sophomore Kathryn Sweeney, who finished seventh at the St. Ignatius Regional with a 90.

Scudder heads downstate for Friar boys

The Fenwick boys golf team placed fifth at the IHSA Class 2A Brother Rice Sectional Oct. 4 with a score of 322.

Junior Nick Scudder shot a 75 and finished 10th overall, good enough to advance downstate. Classmate Jack Harrison narrowly missed as his score of 80 was two strokes short of the cut.

On Sept. 29, Fenwick won the regional meet, also hosted by Brother Rice, with a team score of 317 strokes. Scudder won medalist honors with a round of 75, while Harrison and freshman Luke Cakuls tied for second with each shooting an 80.

Sophomore Clarke Bennett also contributed to the Friars’ regional victory with a round of 82, good for fourth.

OPRF girls bow out in sectional round

The OPRF girls golfers did not qualify as a team for the IHSA Class 2A Conant Sectional, finishing fourth at the St. Ignatius regional Sept. 30.

However, the Huskies managed to advance five girls to the Conant Sectional on Oct. 4, including sophomores Emerson Amstutz, Ella Homrok, Faith Lee and Trinity Mosher as well as junior Ellison Tanner.

None of the five was able to get out of the sectional as Tanner had OPRF’s best showing with a 97. Huskies’ coach Matt McMurray, however, felt the team had an overall solid season given its youth and inexperience.

“My expectations were tempered a bit,” he said. “We played pretty well and improved our scores week by week, which is something I always point to the girls about getting better at. I’d say we’re making pretty good progress and we bring back everyone but one senior who will graduate.”

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