Joey Garvey, Ben Wilkowski, Mason Murphy and Finn Wambay are the only seniors for one of the youngest Riverside-Brookfield High School boys golf lineups in years.
It’s also appearing to be one of the Bulldogs’ best.
The team’s first three tournament totals, including a first-place 322 at the Reavis Invite on Aug. 10, are better than any 18-hole team totals from 2022.
Four players have enjoyed best rounds of 80 or lower – Garvey (77), junior Brady McCallum (79), sophomore Connor Dominick (79) and junior Josh Udelson (80).
“This is by far the youngest and most talented of my teams in seven years at RB,” coach Jim Festle said. “A great goal this year would be for our team to advance to sectionals.”
In 2022, Garvey and Udelson were two of the Bulldogs’ four individual qualifiers for the IHSA Class 3A Conant Sectional after shooting 92s at the Payton Regional.
A three-sport athlete, Garvey also served as a team captain last season and was an individual sectional qualifier in 2021.
McCallum also was part of the Payton Regional lineup. More juniors who will see significant action are Michael Oppegard, Cal Milchhoefer, Ben O’Brien, Nate Stanard and Nick Ambrosia. Dominick, Gavin Sharenow and Ronnie Murray from a promising sophomore class will see time in varsity matches as well.
RBHS finished 10th at the 18-team Payton-Jones Invite (327) on Aug. 11, nine strokes from sixth, and shot 331 at the Oak Park and River Forest Invite on Aug. 12 at Indian Boundary.
This season’s revamped Metro Suburban Conference includes Elmwood Park, Ridgewood and Westmont.
LTHS boys golf
A relatively young LTHS lineup in 2022 hoped to play better at the IHSA Class 3A Conant Sectional.
Many of those Lions should get another chance.
Seniors Joe Stetler, James Frehner, Kevin Larmon and Charlie Novak and junior Anderson Palm return from that sectional lineup, which finished eighth (323), 22 strokes from third for the final team berth.
“The senior [factor], hopefully this is the sense of urgency where they step up,” LTHS coach Brian Kopecky said. “I think we’re good enough to get downstate, but we’ve got to do it when the lights are on.”
Other team members this season are senior Billy O’Neill; juniors Tommy Niemiec, Miles Rakvin, Liam Nelson and Ben Couture; sophomore Finley Tyrrell; and freshman Charlie Forrest.
In 2022, Stetler’s 78 at sectionals was one stroke from the playoff for the last of the 10 individual state berths. The Lions won the Payton Regional (297) with Novak’s 71 taking first by one stroke over graduated teammate Jack Berry. The Lions tied for second in the West Suburban Conference Silver overall standings.
Palm, who would have played varsity as a freshman if not for injury, and Tyrrell were the Lions’ No. 1 and 2 golfers during tryouts.
“The difference between No. 8 and No. 4 was three shots. Within the group, it’ll be very competitive,” Kopecky said.
If the Lions reach sectionals, they will play on their Prairie Bluff home course.
“I think that will be a little bit of an advantage. We’ve just got to play it smart and see what happens.” Kopecky said.