ALGONQUIN — The Crystal Lake Central boys golf team went to senior Paul Schlimm’s house Wednesday night for a pasta dinner before Thursday morning’s Fox Valley Conference Tournament at Golf Club of Illinois.
While Schlimm’s mother had her hands full making pasta for the players, the team talked about refocusing for the postseason. That is what coach Derek Crabill saw on the rain-soaked course.
The Tigers took third with a 327 and the FVC Fox title with help from Jordan Schoenfeld (83), Brad Mugler (86) and Josh Dingle (87) while Schlimm’s 71 made him conference champion.
Jacobs won the tournament with a 299 while Huntley’s 316 was good for second. Despite the Red Raiders undefeated FVC Valley record, the Golden Eagles won the division with help from the tournament win.
Schlimm edged out Jacobs golfer Justin Lenzini by one stroke.
“Throughout the season, even on days when he didn’t have his best, he grinded it out,” Crabill said of Schlimm. “Today he had a great day.”
The Tigers’ senior had been having trouble recently with his driver and has been hooking the ball left off the tee and he knew from his previous rounds at GCI that hitting it left would mean trouble, so he took a new approach.
Schlimm used his driver sparingly in favor of his 3-wood and 4-iron which he used off the tee instead and it worked.
Despite small reductions in distance, the added accuracy allowed him to card six birdies throughout the round while allowing him to gain confidence to attack holes more aggressively.
“It was a grinding round for Paul even though his score doesn’t say that,” Crabill said. “He made some good putts and made great short-game decisions.
“He went after pars and attacked flag sticks when he should have and took bogeys when he should have. He was really smart.”
This being his last high school golf season, Schlimm wants to make an impact and find ways to win even if some of his clubs betray him.
“I’ve been working pretty hard to try and get my game where it should be,” Schlimm said. “Now it feels pretty good. I’ll probably have my driver fixed soon because I don’t like hitting irons (off the tee) but if that’s what it takes, I’ll do whatever it takes.”
For Jacobs, the low score of 299 was exactly what coach Jeremy Bauer wanted to see. Bauer was disappointed after the team’s previous 18-hole tournament earlier in the season but was happy to see his team rebound at the right time.
Jack Ramsett and Gabe Askam each shot a 75 while Chris Boyle fired a 77 for Jacobs in the win.
The Golden Eagles are the deepest team in the conference due to experienced golfers and emerging stars like Lenzini. Just three years ago, Lenzini was scoring rounds in the upper 90s and 100s. He hated losing and worked to better his game.
Fast forward to Thursday, when the sophomore led the way for Jacobs as he holed six birdies and had the lowest score in the clubhouse for about 45 minutes before Schlimm finished his round.
“I’ve been working really, really hard for awhile now,” Lenzini said. “I needed to do good here. Every other score has been over 80 and this is my first time in the 70’s here.”
Bauer figures that another score like Thursday’s 299 is what his team needs to escape a tough regional on Tuesday.
“Having depth is one of our advantages,” he said. “We don’t have a guy who can shoot 5-under but we have a bunch of guys who can shoot even or 2-over and that helps us a lot. Any given day one of those guys can be the low score and that’s a huge lift for your team.”