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Boys Golf: Sandburg’s Caleb Negley takes third at state finals

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By Randy Whalen
Correspondent

Caleb Negley’s goal was to advance to the second day of the Class 3A IHSA boys state golf tournament.

The Sandburg junior did better than that.

Negley shot his best round of the season with a one-under par 71 on the tourney’s final day Oct. 8 at Den at Fox Creek Golf Course in Bloomington. That vaulting him into a four-way tie for third place.

He qualified for Day 2 by shooting an opening-round 76. His two-day total of 147 left him one shot away from forcing a playoff to decide the state champion.

Negley shot an opening-round 82 at state last season and missed the cut.

“Once I got it, I just went from there,” he said of his opening round this year. “I just put myself in position.

“It’s amazing. I don’t know how to feel. I knew I had it in me, it was just a matter of executing. I felt good hitting the ball and became more confident.”

His third-place finish is the highest in Sandburg boy’s golf history. The previous best was a fifth-place finish by Tom Thanasouras in Class 3A in 2012. Larry Blatt, who placed ninth in Class AA in 2004, and Pat Kennedy, who was 10th in Class 3A in 2008, are the other Eagles to medal at state.

“He had a fire in his belly to get back here and play well,” said Sandburg coach Jeff Kwilose. “He would have been ecstatic about making the top 20, but this course suits him well. The weather dictates this course a lot and he was able to adjust to that. He strikes the ball low on his drives and keeps it out of the wind.”

Negley had a pair of eagles: hole 10 on the first day and 14 in Round 2. He also had eight birdies.

“He’s just a super-likable kid,” said Kwilose, who guided the Eagles to their 10th regional title as a team this fall. “His temperament is even keel. No matter if he makes a birdie or a double-bogey he has the same mentality.”

Johnny Creamean from New Trier won the individual championship, beating out fellow junior Tadgh Burke in a playoff. Both finished regulation with a 146.

New Trier (603) won its 10th state championship and first since 2003. Hinsdale Central (605) was second and Glenbrook North (609) placed third.

Girls State Finals

Forty-two miles from Bloomington, Sandburg senior Jillian Cosler finished off her high school career by placing 41st in the Girls Class 2A state finals at the Hickory Point Golf Course in Forsyth.

Following a subpar 83 on the opening day, Cosler bounced back with a 74 on the final day to finish with a 157.

Cosler advanced to state three of her four years in high school, and would have qualified as a member of the Eagles team that won a sectional title in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, when no state tournament was held.

“Jillian had an amazing four-year varsity career,” said Sandburg girls coach Todd Allen. “Her senior year scoring average of 74 is one of the lowest in school history, and we’ve had numerous Division I golfers. She has definitely made the Mt. Rushmore of Sandburg girls golfers as one of the top to ever play.”

Riverside-Brookfield junior Mayan Covarrubias (167) placed 70th at state and junior Addison Watanabe from Lyons had an 86 on the first day and missed the cut.

The Nazareth girls team missed the cut with a first-day score of 395, last among the 12 qualifying teams.

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