NEW LENOX – Saturday’s windy conditions caused plenty of headaches for many of the boys golfers who participated in the 27-team Providence Catholic Invite, which was held at The Sanctuary Golf Course.
Only five of the competitors were able to finish with a par-72 or better and several quality players had their hands full trying to make sure that they kept their scores below 80.
Lockport’s Ben Sluzas was one of the few individuals who were able to master the course on this challenging day and his excellent performance resulted in the Porters sophomore capturing his first invitational title of the season.
Sluzas fired a four-under 68 to claim top honors by two strokes over Fenwick’s second-place finisher Josh Kirkham and Waubonsie Valley’s Will Troy, who placed third in the tiebreaker.
Fenwick had four competitors who all shot 76 or better to give it a winning 293 total.
And in an invitational showdown between SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue Division rivals for the second week in a row, Sandburg edged Lockport, 297-299, for second. The Eagles nipped the Porters on a fifth scorecard to finish first at Homewood-Flossmoor.
Celtics coach John Platt said that he believes that this is the first time that his tough tournament had its top three teams finish with totals under 300.
Joining Sluzas in the four-man scoring for the Porters were Nolan Weis (76), John Weis (77) and Eric Gasienica (78). Brody McCarthy (84) was his team’s other participant.
This is the fourth top-three invite showing for Lockport this season. Coach Matt Eber’s squad won titles at Oswego and Plainfield North in addition to its second-place finish to Sandburg.
“It was pretty bad out there,” Sluzas said. “When I woke up today and I saw the trees blowing I thought that today was going to be a fun day, but I started off good and just kept it going. Last year I believe that we shot something around a 306, but today with how windy it was, for all of us to break 300 is really good and I’m definitely looking forward to the future.
“It really doesn’t matter how we play, as long as we’re beating what we did last year, that’s the goal. Everyone can shoot low and we’re also very consistent and are a lot better than we were last year. I think the best thing about our team is that nobody has really reached their lowest score yet, so I can’t wait to see if we might have a day where we can break 290 if everyone plays good. Hopefully that can happen for us one day.”
Lincoln-Way Central settled for seventh place after turning in a 320 total. Leading the way for the Knights were Nick Tingley (76), Sean Curran (79), Juney Bai (80) and Jon Soldan (87).
The host Celtics shot a 321 to tie Oswego for eighth place. Providence was paced by Davis Billows (79), Joey Utz (80), John Brightmore (80) and Ryan Hilty (82).
Lincoln-Way West claimed 11th place in the competition with a 326 total. Leading the way for the Warriors were Dylan Adair (78), Zack Phelps (79) and Collin Phelps (80).
Lemont took 12th with a 335 score as Paulius Malcius fired a 76, while Chad Biggs and Jacob Pulido both shot an 86 and Connor Douglass had an 87.
Joliet Catholic Academy was led by Creighton Karner (80), Adam Simon (84) and Ryan Bell (85). And Brandyn Collins shot an 83 to pace Joliet Township.