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Boys Golf: St. Laurence’s Valez takes top individual honors at sectional

Updated: November 10, 2012 6:09AM



The weather conditions were far from ideal at Monday’s Class 2A Nazareth Sectional at The Links at Carillon Golf Course in Plainfield.

The temperature hovered near 50 degrees and a stiff 15- to 20-mph breeze made the already challenging Red (2,611 yards) and White (2,733) courses that much more difficult.

In fact, the 8 a.m. start was delayed 30 minutes because of frost.

Mother Nature, however, proved no match for St. Laurence’s Jordan Valez, as well as Illiana Christian’s team.

Valez, a sophomore, recorded a sizzling 73, earning medalist honors and a trip to Friday’s Class 2A state championships at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State University in Normal.

Illiana Christian posted a team score of 322, four strokes off the lead of sectional champ Nazareth. Glenbard South (323) was the final team of 12 participating to advance to Normal.

Valez, along with local standouts Dylan Ross, of Oak Forest (82), and Alek Svabek (82) and Adam Beezhold (82), of Chicago Christian, were part of 10 individuals who punched their ticket to the Normal.

“All the hard work paid off and it feels good,” said Valez, who scored 38-35. “The weather really didn’t affect me. I was trying to keep the ball low. I was just taking my time out there.”

Valez used a new putter for the first time and liked the results.

“It was pretty awesome,” he said. “I was automatic from five-feet.”

There was nothing automatic about earning a spot among the 10 individuals.

In fact, a five-way tie for the final four spots forced a playoff. Ross, Svabek and Beezhold all survived the cut.

“It was pressure and intense,” said Ross, who credited his grandparents, Bill and Emily Bockstahler, with introducing him to the sport. “It’s great getting in the finals.”

Svabek and Beezhold, both seniors, had been down a similar overtime road two years ago. But where Svabek survived and advanced to state, Beezhold missed the cut.

This time, both moved on.

“I felt kind of bad last time,” Svabek said. “I’m excited to have us both going downstate.”

Beezhold seconded that notion.

“I was real nervous two years ago, but not as much (Monday),” Beezhold said. “I’m better at the game. It’s exciting to be going downstate with Alek.”

Illiana Christian was equally excited. Jonathan Zandstra (78), Dan Lagestee (79), Matthew Zandstra (80) and Jake Boender (87) paved the way for the Vikings.

“I was real consistent,” Jonathan Zandstra said. “Our goal from Day 1 was to get downstate as a team. It feels great to do it.”



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