PALATINE – With a trip to state on the line, McHenry's Truman Keppy misfired on the first playoff hole at Palatine Hills, sending his tee shot wide left of the fairway, under a tree and up against the No. 2 tee box.
Even in a bad spot, the Warriors junior stayed upbeat.
Keppy hit the green on his next shot and two-putted for par, giving him one of the final two state-qualifying spots at Tuesday's Class 3A Palatine Boys Golf Sectional. Keppy and Highland Park's Jared Grossman both advanced in the playoff, which saw three golfers compete for only two spots.
Crystal Lake Central's Eric Klutke missed his par putt by a couple of feet – ending his stellar freshman season one shot short of a state berth. The Class 3A state tournament will take place at The Den at Fox Creek in Bloomington, starting Friday.
Keppy is a two-time state qualifier, also advancing as a sophomore.
"I definitely was a little nervous on the tee," Keppy said. "I got a little quick at the top, but I kept my mind straight and I stayed positive. Being in the top 150 golfers for Class 3A is pretty cool.
"Going down again is pretty neat, and it's always fun."
Keppy was one of three local golfers to advance from the Palatine Sectional. Jacobs senior Garrett Tighe tied for fifth place overall with a 2-over-par 74, qualifying for the second year in a row year, and Huntley senior Jack Wagner shot a 3-over 75 and will make his first appearance.
Stevenson sophomore Conan Pan earned medalist honors with a 1-under 71. Lake Forest won the team title with a 296, Stevenson (301) took runner-up, and Barrington (305) was third.
Jacobs (333) was eighth as a team, Huntley (336) was ninth, and McHenry (339) was 11th.
Tighe, who will play golf next year at Iowa, is happy to go back.
"I missed it freshman and sophomore years, so I wanted to make sure I would make it as a junior and senior," said Tighe, who tied for 14th place at last year's state tournament with a 73-76-149.
"It feels good to make it your last year of high school golf."
Wagner, who played in two playoffs for state berths as a freshman and sophomore at Faith Christian, missing both times, was relieved when he found out a 75 would not require a playoff.
Wagner transferred to Huntley as a junior, making sectionals last season. This was his last chance at state.
"Making it by one stroke, I had a little breathing room," said Wagner, who shot even on the front nine and 39 on the back. "Going down to the playoff there, it was awesome just to watch.
"This means a lot to me and my family. My grandpa passed away last year, so I was sad he wasn't able to be here and see me qualify."
Wagner had to wait more than two hours after his round completed to see if he made it to state.
Now that he's in, Wagner is thinking big.
"I'm excited to go there, just getting to play, and hopefully placing," he said. "That would be awesome. I feel like I have a good shot this year."
Central coach Derek Crabill said Klutke, who placed third at conference and regionals, is a special talent.
"Today wasn't his best day, but he grinded out a really good round," Crabill said. "After a 41 (on the back), he finished with a 35 on the front to get back himself in contention. The end of the year is never fun, unless you win it all.
"Only a handful of people get to do that. I was really proud of the tenacity and grit he showed today. He can be very proud of the job he did this year."
STAR OF THE MEET
Jack Wagner, Huntley, sr.
Wagner fired a 3-over-par 75 to finish in a tie for 10th place and advance to the Class 3A state tournament.
3: Local golfers to qualify for state
AND ANOTHER THING ...
Jacobs senior Garrett Tighe and McHenry junior Truman Keppy will both make their second straight state appearance.
Class 3A Palatine Boys Golf Sectional
at Palatine Hills, par 72
Medalist: Conan Pan (Stevenson) 71
Team scores (top 3 advance to state): 1. Lake Forest 296, 2. Stevenson 301, 3. Barrington 305, 4. DeKalb 312, T5. Libertyville, Mundelein 314, 7. Deerfield 316, 8. Jacobs 333, 9. Huntley 336, 10. Hononegah 337, 11. McHenry 339, 12. Rockford Auburn 358
Advancing individuals (not on advancing teams): 1. Jack Paeglow (DeK) 72, 2. Garrett Tighe (Jac) 74, 3. Bennett Baker (Belvidere North) 74, 4. Trevor Neumaier (Mund) 75, 5. Jack Wagner (Hunt) 75, 6. Colin Robinson (Fremd) 75, 7. Nathan Schmidt (Fremd) 75, 8. Bradley Goldstein (Highland Park) 76, 9. Truman Keppy (McHenry) 76, 10. Jared Grossman (Highland Park) 76
Jacobs (333): Garrett Tighe 74, Ryan Frantik 81, Jordan Stone 87, Jarod Gray 91
Huntley (336): Jack Wagner 75, Garrett Heinke 82, Josh Good 87, Danny Sheedy 92
McHenry (339): Truman Keppy 76, Liam Nielsen 80, Spencer Rudd 90, Ryan Peters 93
Local finishes: Eric Klutke (Crystal Lake Central) 76, Patrick Tobin (Cary-Grove) 80, Matt McQuillen (Dundee-Crown) 81, Craig Bracke (Hampshire) 82, Mark Spitzer (Hamp) 85, Bayden Hubacher (CLC) 86, Jake Zirlin (D-C) 86, Cole Seeger (C-G) 88, Evan Bridges (Woodstock) 89, Alex Matsas (D-C) 89