Unstoppable Frankie Saban sends Sandburg to state

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Sitting still was not an option for Sandburg junior Frankie Saban.

Heading into the homestretch of Monday’s Class 2A Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional, Saban’s non-stop motor was as much about strategy as it was enthusiasm.

“I had to keep my head out of my score,” Saban said. “On the last two holes, I couldn’t stop moving, stretching my arms, jumping up and down.”

After completing her round, no one would blame her if she jumped for joy.

Saban fired a 2-under-par 69 at Coyote Run in Flossmoor for medalist honors in the 112-person field. Not only was it the best score of her life, topping her previous record by four strokes, but Saban also helped carry Sandburg to a third-place finish, sending the Eagles to the state tournament Friday and Saturday in Decatur with a score of 329.

“I’m ecstatic,” Saban said. “I couldn’t be happier. All the hard work has paid off.”

Saban was 2-over at the halfway point, but her short game came to life with four birdies for a blistering 31 on the back nine.

“Wherever I would struggle, my putter would pick me back up,” Saban said. “So if I had a bad hole with the driver, I’d make the putt for a par.”

Saban played with Lincoln-Way East’s Kelly Sterling, who finished second with an even-par 71. Sterling’s runner-up round followed her school-record performance of 69 at the Joliet Central Regional, which was the best regional score in the state.

“I thought I played great,” Sterling said. “I just had one bad hole. I had a triple bogey on No. 2. I didn’t have any bogeys after that. Just pars and birdies.”

The Hinsdale Central duo of Jessica Lee (72) and Zoe Wong (74) finished third and fourth, respectively.

Lemont’s Bridgett Lynn shot a 75 to tie Lyons’ Ciara Rattana and Hinsdale Central’s Selina Zeng for fifth.

“It was a lot better than last year considering I was on the bubble,” said Lynn, who finished 50th at state last season after just making the cut.

Hinsdale Central conquered the field with a 301 and Lyons took second at 318 to qualify for state for the fourth consecutive year. Hinsdale Central finished fourth in state and Lyons was fifth last season.

Individual qualifiers from the Southland include De La Salle’s Emily Brown (78), Providence’s Alyssa Gromola (80), Marist’s Ashley Kay (83) and T.F. South’s Maggie Sloan (84), who advanced in the last spot after winning a playoff.

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