Girls State golf: Sandburg savoring first-ever trip to state
BY LOGAN MALLOY For Sun-Times Media October 17, 2013 8:22PM
Where and When: Friday and Saturday at Hickory Point Golf Course in Decatur.
Team Qualifier: Sandburg
Individual Qualifiers: Emily Brown, Sr., De La Salle; Alyssa Gromola, Fr., Providence; Ashley Kay, Sr., Marist; Bridgett Lynn, Sr., Lemont; Maggie Sloan, So., T.F. South; Kelly Sterling, Jr., Lincoln-Way East.
Updated: November 19, 2013 6:42AM
A little bit of surprise and a lot of jubilation. That was the general consensus surrounding Sandburg after it earned its first-ever trip to the state golf tournament Monday at the Class 2A Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional.
“I knew we were going to be good this year, but we’re actually a year ahead of schedule,” Sandburg coach Todd Allen said. “We’re the only team (from the H-F Sectional) that didn’t have any seniors. I was a little concerned about their inexperience, but the girls did a fantastic job.”
Sandburg finished third and notched the last qualifying spot behind two of the state’s perennial golf powerhouses: Hinsdale Central and Lyons.
Frankie Saban, Sandburg’s No. 1 player and one of the top golfers in the Southland, conquered the 112-person field with the best score of her life, a 2-under-par 69 at Coyote Run in Flossmoor. Saban’s card topped her previous best by four strokes to set the school record.
Emily McGiles, Alex Kappel, Emily Cosler, Patty Meza and Erin Cronin also contributed for the Eagles and will compete at Hickory Point in Decatur on Friday and Saturday.
“I’m ecstatic for them,” Allen said. “They’re a great group of girls and I love coaching them. It’s going to be really fun going down there.”
For Saban, her stellar sectional round was just a little bit sweeter with redemption in mind.
“I missed the cut by one last year and I didn’t make it my freshman year, either,” Saban said. “It was on this course last year where I missed by only a couple strokes. It’s really nice to get back at it and try again.
“I felt like I was just about to peak because I kept getting a little bit better every time out,” she added. “(Monday) was just kind of the match for me.”
You wouldn’t find much argument if you called Saban and Lincoln-Way East’s Kelly Sterling the hottest golfers in the state. The Southland juniors are the only competitors from Class 2A to record a sub-70 round in postseason play.
Sterling’s regional round of 69 came at Inwood in Joliet, smashing the 1-over 72 school record set by her sister, Kathy Sterling.
At the H-F Sectional five days later, Sterling topped the previous school record again, firing a 71 to finish second behind Saban.
“I’m playing really good right now,” Sterling said. “In my entire life, this is the best I’ve put it together.”
Whereas Sandburg and Saban have yet to taste state tournament play, Sterling will return for her third appearance. She finished 23rd last season when East went as a team and 29th as a freshman after qualifying individually.
“I just want to play my best — play like I’ve been playing — and see what happens,” Sterling said. “I can’t control what other people do.”