BULL VALLEY — McHenry County Junior Amateur points leader Brad Spoeth found himself tied with former Huntley golf teammate AJ Fanselow after the first round of the two-day Billy Vahldieck tournament at Boone Creek Golf Club.
Nick Bonich had the early lead with a 79 but when the threesome of Spoeth, Fanselow and Tyler Ross finished their round that all changed.
Both Spoeth and Fanselow posted a 5-over-par 76 while Ross matched Bonich's early top score with a 79 in the boys senior division. The four will be grouped together and will tee off at 8:40 a.m. in the final flight during Thursday's final round. Double points are being awarded at the end of the tournament, so the golfers realize the importance of staying consistent throughout the two days.
Fanselow, a recent Huntley graduate who will play Division III golf at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, said that he got off to a shaky start before reeling in his game. He settled for several birdies and even carded an eagle on the par-5 12th hole.
"It's always nice when you can have an eagle," he said. "That always helps. I was a little inconsistent but I was able to put it back together."
Spoeth noted that it will be fun to compete with his fellow Huntley teammates — Fanselow and Ross — for the two-day tournament title, adding that even though they are all friends, it's very competitive.
Two-day tournaments are uncommon in high school. The only two-day tournament is played at state and MCJGA tournament director Mike Haase believes that playing in these allows golfers to gain valuable experience.
Fanselow noted that these tournaments, offered by the MCJGA, helped him navigate the rare two-day tournament at the high school level.
"I think they're really nice," he said. "You'll always have those golfers who will have a really good day on the course and those who will have a really bad day. The two-days helps balance it out and it helps find the most consistent golfer."
The first day, he said, golfers tend to take more risks than on the second. Players want to get ahead and have a shot at the title. The second day is full of adjustments. Golfers play to either sustain a lead or become "extra risky" to try and make up some shots. The experience, he said, is invaluable and has led to him becoming a better golfer.
In the boys junior division, points leader Billy Walker didn't participate and Justin Lenzini led the way with an even-par 71. Jake Grabner posted a 74, good enough for second, and Ben Melms (76) ended the day in third. The three will be grouped in the top flight Thursday morning starting at 9:04 a.m.
Last week's winner, Cameron Karney, shot an 80, which was good enough for fifth and will tee off in the second-to-last flight. He was a little disappointed but he was already thinking about the next round.
"The pin placement was really tough today," he said. "I'm looking forward to [Thursday]. I think I have to shoot around a 75 to be in the top three and I think I can do it."
Girls senior division points leader Gillian Young tied for the top score with Alexandria Siavelis as they each shot a 41 on nine holes. The two will play with Kaylee Ross (42) in the final flight.
Lauren Kalamaras (45) continued her dominance in the girls junior division and heads into Thursday's round with a one-stroke lead over Kailey Lindholm (46) and a two-stroke lead over Sophia Archos (47). The three were the only girls in the junior division to shoot a sub-50.