BULL VALLEY – After playing the par-5 No. 1 at Woodstock Country Club for the third time, Crystal Lake South's Ricky Falbo summed up the difficulty of navigating the hilly nine-hole course perfectly.
"You make one mistake and you're toast," Falbo said Thursday. "And then it gets in your head."
After Falbo and Marian Central's Andrew Lydon each finished their rounds at 11-over-par 83, the co-leaders walked back to No. 1 for a third time to decide the winner of the McHenry County Junior Golf Association's Tournament of Champions.
Both golfers' first shots landed left of the fairway in the playoff, but only Falbo's was playable. Lydon's drive landed with a thump in a bush, forcing the Hurricanes senior to take a one-stroke penalty. Falbo went on to par the hole and capture the final MCJGA tournament of the summer.
Falbo said he was aiming right on the playoff hole, and the ball still tailed left. Fortunately, it didn't cost him.
"When you're hitting a little draw, it's a little difficult to stay away from the left side," Falbo said. "I was aiming a little bit more to the right, just to be cautious. I was pretty nervous of the left side."
Despite the playoff loss, Lydon captured the boys senior division season title with 990 points. Crystal Lake South's Jack Roberts was second with 660, and Falbo (490) was third.
"That was my goal this summer, so it feels good," Lydon said. "I've never played here before. There are a lot of hills and not a whole lot of flat lies. The greens were really fast, too. It took me awhile to get used to them."
Marian Central's Alex Gilmore shot 89 and took third over Hampshire's Colton Lindquist (89) in a scorecard playoff.
The lowest score of the day belonged to Prairie Ridge's Eddie Winkelmann, who fired a 10-over 82 to claim the boys junior division. The Wolves sophomore also won the season title with 1,475 points.
Crystal Lake South's Spencer Shireman took second with an 84, and Crystal Lake Central's Bayden Hubacher (88) finished third. In the standings, Hubacher was second with 1,025 points. Huntley's Trevor Book (995) was third.
Golfers used different tees the second time through the nine-hole course, which made it play more like a traditional 18 holes.
"I had a couple of good drives. Some of them were just dingers," Winkelmann said. "I made two birdies on the same hole (No. 6). I like the back tees a lot more. The front tees seem to put you more along the tree lines, and it's harder to get a drive, especially when you're a lefty."
Jacobs junior Roslyn Leitner won the girls senior division with an 88, followed by Jacobs' Lauren Kempf (92) and Crystal Lake Central's Renata Petersen (93). Dundee-Crown senior Alyssa Trebat won the season title with 880 points. Kempf was second with 850, and Prairie Ridge's Morgan Taylor (550) was third.
"It was definitely a harder course than usual," Kempf said. "The greens were lightning fast."
In the girls junior division, Prairie Ridge freshman Elizabeth Tucker finished first with a 50. North Barrington’s Kiana Pouyat (58) was second, and Johnsburg’s Gracie Berthoud (60) took third. Tucker also earned the girls junior points title with 1,160 points. Pouyat and Johnsburg’s Ellie Johnson tied for second with 800 points.
Tucker played up in the senior division three times this summer and said she learned a lot entering her first high school season. The girls junior division plays nine holes, opposed to 18.
“It’s a lot harder,” Tucker said. “You feel good after nine, but after Nos. 10 and 11, you have that, 'Oh my God, are we done yet?’ kind of feeling. But It's been a pretty good experience. I’m showing the older kids that I am a threat, and I'm going to compete no matter what."
McHenry County Junior Golf Association
Tournament of Champions
Woodstock Country Club, par 72
Boys Senior Divison
1. Ricky Falbo, 83
2. Andrew Lydon, 83
3. Alex Gilmore, 89
4. Colton Lindquist, 89
5. Evan Bridges, 90
6. Andrew Rechtsteiner, 91
7. Jack Roberts, 100
8. Spencer Alvey, 116
Girls Senior Division
1. Roslyn Leitner, 88
2. Lauren Kempf, 92
3. Renata Petersen, 93
4. Alyssa Trebat, 95
5. Nina Shaffer, 99
6. Sarah Fergus, 101
7. Sophia Pascente, 102
Boys Junior Division
1. Eddie Winkelmann, 82
2. Spencer Shireman, 84
3. Bayden Hubacher, 88
4. Kevin Craig, 89
5. Caleb Stinespring, 93
T6. Jonathan Vogt, 95
T6. Trevor Book, 95
8. Danny Sheedy, 99
Girls Junior Division
1. Elizabeth Tucker, 50
2. Kiana Pouyat, 58
3. Gracie Berthoud, 60
4. Pieper Fiegel, 63
Player of the Year
Boys senior division: Andrew Lydon, Marian Central, sr.
Girls senior division: Alyssa Trebat, Dundee-Crown, sr.
Boys junior division: Eddie Winkelmann, Prairie Ridge, so.
Girls junior division: Elizabeth Tucker, Prairie Ridge, fr.