Joey Garvey

Senior Joey Garvey entered Riverside Brookfield High School as a casual golfer. He nearly didn’t go out for the team.

“I maybe golfed once before my freshman year,” Garvey said. “I wasn’t really planning on playing golf until one of my friends [2023 graduate Dan Gilhooley] kind of convinced me to try out. I liked it and I just got addicted like everyone else, and just started working hard.”

Garvey and the Bulldogs have come a long way since.

He finished with an 84 at the Class 3A Lyons Township Sectional Monday at Prairie Bluff in Crest Hill, and the Bulldogs return their other three individual qualifiers and other key contributors from their strongest team in years that captured their first conference championship in the now four-team Metro Suburban Conference.

Sophomore Connor Dominick (81) and junior Josh Udelson (82) had the Bulldogs’ top scores on the par-72 course. Junior Ben O’Brien shot 87.

Josh Udelson

“These boys are going to be good so that’s always a positive to leave like that,” Garvey said. “I hope I made a good impact on the program.”

He was a three-time individual sectional qualifier, and Udelson also qualified in 2022. Both shot 92s at sectionals last year.

Garvey finished strong Monday after some rough holes during his back nine but still would have needed one of his best rounds to reach state.

Four players who shot 75 competed for the 10th and last state berth for individuals not from the three advancing teams.

Dominick thought he played pretty well but was disappointed in not converting any of his seven birdie chances.

“[I learned] just don’t worry about anyone you’re playing with. You’ve just got to worry about yourself and play smart,” Dominick said.

“I think we’ll be pretty solid next year. Losing Joe is going to be bad but we have a lot of young talent.”

The four Bulldogs advanced after the team finished fourth, Sept. 27, at the Glenbrook North Regional at Heritage Oaks (322), 27 strokes behind the third and final qualifying spot.

Garvey (9-over-par 79), Dominick (80), Udelson (81) and O’Brien (82) were among the 10 individual sectional qualifiers not among the three advancing teams. Juniors Brady McCallum (85), two strokes from the individual cut, and Cal Milchhoefer (96) also competed.

“I’ve progressed a lot [over] last year’s score from sectional. I bumped up a little bit, so I’m happy with that. Hopefully we can make it to sectionals as a team next year,” Udelson said.

“It was the first time we got the [conference] plaque this year. A smaller conference this year, but it still means the same.”

O’Brien finished on a solid note Monday. On his last hole, he sank a 25-foot putt for par.

“I’d say (my best putt), my longest for sure,” O’Brien said. “(Regionals) was one of my best rounds for sure. Hopefully I’ll improve for next year.”