BLOOMINGTON — It took Hinsdale Central 51 years to win its fourth boys golf state championship.
The Red Devils didn’t wait long to add No. 5.
Led by sophomore Kenneth Li, Hinsdale Central shot a 27-over 603 (295-308) to earn its second Class 3A title in as many seasons Saturday at The Den at Fox Creek. Although it was close — runner-up New Trier was 13 shots back at 616 — at no point did the Red Devils trail on the second day of the tournament.
“It’s hard to win one, and it’s harder to repeat,” said Hinsdale Central coach Jess Krueger, who’s been in charge since 2006. “We couldn’t think about that.”
Li had a chance to win a title of his own, but he settled for second place, one stroke behind Glenbrook North senior Brian Ohr. Li’s 2-under 70 was the best score of the second round, and he finished at 2-under 140 (72-70) for the tournament.
“Brian played great, and his shot at the 18th was clutch,” Krueger said of Ohr’s wedge to 5 feet that resulted in a tournament-winning birdie. “He really stuck it in there.”
There’s no reason to think Hinsdale Central can’t add a third title in a row next season. The Red Devils should return their four top players from the state tournament.
In addition to Li, freshman Brendan O’Reilly tied for 11th (71-78 —149), junior Brian Dolehide tied for 31st (76-80 —156) and sophomore Drew Shepherd tied for 46th (76-83 —159).
Seniors Grant Filer (84-80 —164) and Jeff Yoo (83-83 —166) closed out their prep careers in Bloomington.
“We know we have to stay focused and work hard all winter,” O’Reilly said. “We have to be ready to want to win another one because we know there is going to be a target on our back.”
Krueger said the Red Devils are a long way from winning another team trophy.
“You never know from year to year,” he said. “It’s so hard to judge. A wise old coach once told me these things are hard to win.”
Down by four strokes to Loyola after the first day of the Class AA state tournament at Hickory Point in Forsyth, Prospect’s team was still feeling pretty good.
After all, the Knights had just shot a 303, the program’s best showing at state by 14 strokes.
Saturday, the Knights kept it going and wound up with a convincing, nine-stroke win, 612-to-621, over Loyola to win the program’s second state title. The other came in 2011. Those are the only two girls team titles in school history, regardless of sport.
Hinsdale Central took third as a team with a 637, led by a pair of 157s, coming from senior Cailee Beisswanger and freshman Selina Zeng. New Trier was fourth (645) and Crystal Lake Central fifth (647).
Neuqua Valley sophomore Jessica Yuen won the individual title by four strokes with a 142.
— Paul Johnson also contributed