After the first day of competition at the Billy Vahldieck McHenry County Junior Amateur, there’s one thing for certain when it comes to the senior divisions; it’s still anybody’s tournament.
Between the boys and girls senior divisions, there are 10 players within four shots of the lead heading into what should be a very tight second day at Boone Creek Country Club in Bull Valley.
“After a 32 on the back nine, I was kind of expecting to be up there, but first is an even better feeling,” said Mitchell Whitehouse, the 18-hole boys senior division leader.
“I like my position heading into tomorrow, I played better than I had been, and just felt good today. I’d rather be the leader defending my spot on the second day.”
Whitehouse, a junior at Cary-Grove High School, rode the momentum of his “deadly irons” to shot a 1-over-par 72, which was good enough for a one-shot lead over recent C-G grad Daniel Deprey.
DePrey won this tournament back in 2012 in a five-player playoff.
“It was pretty good today besides the par 5s, which I played pretty bad,” DePrey said. “It doesn’t really matter, but I would have liked to be the leader for tomorrow."
DePrey and Whitehouse will be joined by Crystal Lake South’s Brandon Dahl in Thursday’s final pairing after Dahl shot a 3-over-par 74.
Glenn Miller was one shot back of Dahl. Brad Spoeth and Tyler Ross of Huntley each shot 76s to round out the top five. Spoeth has finished in the second in the last two McHenry County Junior Amateurs and Ross came in to the tournament as the senior boys points leader by 200 points.
The girls senior division is wide open with four players within two shots of the leader heading into Thursday’s second round.
Marian Central’s Kenzie Mocogni shot a 7-over-par 42 to end the day atop of the leaderboard. Gillian Young, Brooke Johnson and Emily Fox are all one back of Mocogni, and Erin Wing is two back after her 44.
“I played pretty well, just enjoyed it out there today and had fun with the girls,” Mocogni said. “I expected the scores to be close because all the girls are good and there’s competition, but it’s more about having fun out there.”
In the boys junior division, Prairie Ridge’s Stephen Nalepa and Johnsburg’s Grant Fisher pulled away from the rest of the field to set up a duel in the second round.
Nalepa carded a two-over-par 73 to hold a one-shot lead over Fisher.
Fisher came into the tournament as the junior boys points leaders by 180 points over Myles Miller. Miller is third after shooting an 80 in his first round. The points earned at this tournament are doubled compared to the rest of the schedule.
“I kind of like clawing at the lead, I’d rather be the pursuer for tomorrow, I’m really happy with where I’m sitting,” Fisher said.
Maddie Ogden of McHenry shot a 5-over-par 40 to lead the girls’ junior division by four shots over her sister Hannah Ogden.
“I was really nervous this morning, and just told myself ‘to do my best, and calm down, there’s always tomorrow,’” Maddie said. “We don’t get to play a lot of 18-hole tournaments, so I hope I play my best tomorrow but as long as I come out and have fun it should be fine.”