State golf preview: Joey Batliner bests bunkers

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MARENGO — The Barrington boys golf team’s season appeared to be nearing a tragic end at the Class 3A Huntley Sectional Monday. With four players competing in a playoff for two final spots in the state tournament, the Broncos’ Tom Calbi and Joey Batliner both sent their tee shots on the second playoff hole into bunkers. Batliner, however, was able to bounce back with a solid second shot. “I was just like, ‘Get up-and-down for par,’ ” Batliner said. “That’s what my coach said as I went up to the tee box. Don’t do anything special. Don’t try to be too fancy. Just make par.” That’s exactly what he did, securing his spot at this weekend’s state tournament in Bloomington. Of course, for Batliner, the pressure was nothing compared to what he faced on the first playoff hole. After failing to lift his approach shot onto the green and landing in the bunker instead, the junior had to putt with elimination on the line a few shots later. “I was like, ‘I can’t leave this one short because if I didn’t make it, I’m out,’ ” Batliner said. “I gave it a run and it just lipped in. I got very lucky about that. I shouldn’t have left myself with that for a bogey on the last one.” Batliner had been preparing for his two playoff holes for quite some time. He came into the clubhouse tied with six other players at 4-over 76 and Barrington sitting in eighth place as a team. He knew he’d likely have to overcome his nerves in a playoff situation. “I tried to get ready for it,” Batliner said. “My game was spot-on. I just had to get my mental game. I just had to be ready for it. I get nervous a lot, but I was just, right out there, I was really confident with my tee shot and then I got confident with my second shot.”

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