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Local

Bruins win first championship since 1977

SPRING VALLEY — When St. Bede senior Nathan Potthoff stepped to the 18th tee with the final threesome during Tuesday’s IHSA Class 1A boys golf regional at Spring Creek Golf Course, all he really knew was he was in good shape to capture the individual championship.

What he didn’t know was the Bruins held just a two-stroke lead over Hinckley-Big Rock for the team title, although almost everyone gathered near the 18th green did, thanks to the IHSA’s phone app which tracked real-time scoring.

Potthoff recovered nicely after a tough tee shot, and despite carding a bogey finished with a 1-over-par 73 to win by nine strokes and help St. Bede to its first postseason hardware since 1977 when the Bruins won a district title.

“I didn’t look at the leaderboard [on my phone] all day, I didn’t want to. I didn’t know how close the team score was until after my round was over, all I was focusing on was trying to finish up at even par,” said Potthoff, who had three birdies, 11 pars and four bogeys in his winning round.

“Things just really fell into place this year. I’m first glad we were able to have a season, and then have the regional and sectional here is cool. Then to win both the team and individual title today, it’s pretty special.”

St. Bede [338] and HBR [339] each advanced to Wednesday’s sectional back at Spring Creek, while Hall [374] placed fourth and Putnam County [409] seventh.

Putnam County placed seventh with a team tally of 409, led by Chris Uzella with a 93. Also for PC, Josh Jessen had a 99, Gavin Cimei a 107, Lucas Wiesbrock a 110, Bryce Smith a 112 and Miles Walder a 126.

Adding to the Bruins’ winning tally were Jake Delaney [85], Logan Humpage [89], Owen Espel [91] and Brendan Pillion [91].

“Every time I walked back into the clubhouse, everyone was giving me updates,” said St. Bede coach Rich Cummings, his club once down 12 strokes late in the day. “I like the old way of posting scores as the the groups come in ... this new app is going to give me gray hair.

“The kids just did a tremendous job of coming back, but we also knew the back nine would probably be tough on the teams that haven’t played here before. Once we took the lead, we had a couple kids – Brendan Pillion and Owen Espel – in the final groups make big shots to maintain”

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