BULL VALLEY – Evan Bridges didn't post the lowest score Thursday at Woodstock Country Club, but the recent Woodstock High School graduate still enjoyed the difficulty of the hilly nine-hole course.
"I love this course," Bridges said. "The greens can be really tough, but they play true. If you three-putt, you'll just get in your own head. I went through a tough stretch where I went three-putt, four-putt, three-putt.
"For some guys, that's just hard to come back from."
Bridges did just enough in his last round before college, shooting 13-over-par 83 to finish fourth and win the Boys Senior Division Player of the Year title at the McHenry County Junior Golf Association's Tournament of Champions.
Bridges won only one MCJGA event this summer but was consistently near the top of the leaderboards. Wauconda's Matt Szmajda, who did not play Thursday, tied for Player of the Year with Bridges, both earning 700 points. Bridges earned 50 points Thursday.
Stevenson's Jake Schabes carded the lowest round with a 79 and won the tournament's boys senior division. Prairie Ridge senior Bailey Lazar (80) took second, and Prairie Ridge junior Eddie Winkelmann (81) was third.
Bridges, a three-sport athlete at Woodstock, will golf at NCAA Division III Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
"It's kind of sad to end because I've become close friends with a lot of the guys out here," Bridge said. "But I'm really looking forward to college golf, and I can't wait to compete. I love tournament play."
Prairie Ridge sophomore Elizabeth Tucker shot an 85 to secure the girls senior division title and finish second in the Player of the Year standings. McHenry's Sarah Fergus (93) took second in the tournament, and Crystal Lake Central's Renata Petersen (98) was third.
Tucker, who won Player of the Year in the girls junior division last summer, said she enjoys playing against older competition.
"I like being pushed," said Tucker, who also played in Illinois Junior Golf Association events throughout the summer. "It's interesting and fun to go out of your comfort zone. You learn to be more focused, and you mature a lot faster."
Petersen, who won six of 14 MCJGA events this summer and was second or better in 10 of them, ran away with the Girls Senior Player of the Year title with 1,195 points. Tucker finished second with 585 points, and Prairie Ridge graduate Morgan Taylor, who did not play Thursday, was third with 550 points.
Petersen, who has been a big part of the past two Fox Valley Conference and McHenry County Tournament champions with the Crystal Lake Central co-op team – which combines with Cary-Grove and Crystal Lake South – said she is looking forward to some time off before tryouts next week.
On Monday, Petersen played in the end-of-season IJGA Player of the Year Championship at Highlands of Elgin and finished fourth in the final standings.
"It's been a busy summer. I think I've had a tournament just about every day this summer, training hard every day," Petersen said. "I think I need a little break, but I'm going to get right back at it (next week) and have fun with my high school teammates.
"My summer didn't end as I wanted it to. I didn't play my best today, but that happens. It's good to get it out of the way before high school starts."
Crystal Lake's Kevin Craig, a sophomore at Culver Academies (Indiana), won the boys junior division with an 88. Crystal Lake's Nikiel Karna (89) placed runner-up, and Dundee-Crown's Jake Russell (92) was third.
Bayden Hubacher shot a 92, losing a scorecard playoff to Russell, and easily won Boys Junior Player of the Year with 1,415 points. Craig (775) finished second, and Crystal Lake South's Evan VanderSande (715) was third.
"It kind of stinks to end with that bad of a score, but it's OK," said Hubacher, who won seven of 14 MCJGA tournaments on the way to the season title. "It was definitely rough, but I was just losing my focus and playing poorly. The fairways here are tight. If you miss a fairway ... it's bad."
South Elgin's Ila Fontaine won the girls junior division with a 60 and also Player of the Year. Huntley's Aubrey Dingbaum (67) took second, and Huntley's Hallie Holmes (70) took third. The girls junior division plays nine holes.
Player of the Year
Boys senior division: Evan Bridges (Woodstock), Carroll University, fr.
Girls senior division: Renata Petersen, Crystal Lake Central, jr.
Boys junior division: Bayden Hubacher, Crystal Lake Central, so.
Girls junior division: Ila Fontaine, South Elgin, fr.