POPLAR GROVE – Richmond-Burton junior golfer Jordan Hahn took to the course Thursday at Timber Pointe knowing good friend and Burlington Central senior Matt Weber was his greatest challenger to prevent him from capturing a third consecutive Big Northern Conference tournament individual title.
Playing in the same group, Weber and Hahn competed against the course and one another during the 18-hole tournament with each hitting its fair share of stellar shots. However, Weber ultimately prevailed, shooting a 3-under par 72, to earn medalist honors.
Hahn shot par for the third straight year at the tournament and finished second overall.
Burlington Central (309) took the BNC tournament title while R-B (327) finished fourth, losing the tiebreaker against third-place Rock Falls.
Hahn and Marengo’s Hunter Simonini (74) earned All-Conference honors for their performances.
“I’m not unhappy with a 72, but I’m not pleased with it,” Hahn said. “There’s shots that I left out there, though I made a couple I shouldn’t have.”
A 45-minute rain delay approximately six holes into the tournament changed the course conditions. The greens slowed following the rain, and when some groups returned to the course, they found holes saturated with water, including Hahn and Weber’s group, which had to play around puddles on No. 17.
“Coming out after the delay is just something you have to deal with,” Hahn said. “It’s hard to get the roll, the speed right coming out after a delay. You have to be aware of the speed at every hole.”
The changing conditions didn’t deter Marengo’s Simonini. The junior started strong, shooting par on his first hole, No. 10, and followed that with an eagle after chipping in a shot from the bunker. Once Simonini hit the early eagle, he was confident he’d find success the rest of the day, despite the wet weather.
“I just started believing in myself and stayed focused, told myself I could do it and finished strong,” Simonini said. “I knew I could play the way I did today, and I felt happy about it.”
Without No. 2 senior golfer Bobby Meyers, who is sidelined after dislocating his right tibia, R-B coach Brad Tichenor had to make a late lineup change. Meyers’ absence will likely have a greater impact during next week’s regional, because of the tough field the Rockets are in. R-B will play a practice round Sunday at Renwood in Round Lake to prepare for the regional.
“With the weather and bringing somebody up last minute, I’m happy with what we did,” Tichenor said. “ ... Jordan knows what he can shoot, there’s a big competitive chip on his shoulder where he’s not happy with second place. He won the regional title last year, so hopefully he knows what he needs to do to win it again.”