With the sun setting over Rolling Greens Golf Course in Mt. Sterling, Lincolnwood senior Sam Herman went bird hunting and came away with a big prize.
In a four-way playoff for the final three state qualifying spots at the sectional in Mt. Sterling, Herman sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to earn his first trip to the IHSA Class 1A State Tournament.
Of the top 16 players at the sectional, only five played for a team that advanced to state, meaning that no one finishing 17th or worse made it to the next round.
Herman would shoot an 83 on the day, 11 strokes over par, and was in good company as Jadon Wheeler of Jacksonville Westfair Christian Academy, Evan Earl of Sherrard and Dan O'Neill of Rockridge also shot 83 on the day, along with A.J. Shoemaker of Rock Island Alleman, whose team took first in the team ranks with a 332.
Herman's putt would secure his spot at state, while Earl and O'Neill also advanced in the playoff. This was the Lincolnwood senior's third attempt at a state berth, having finished five strokes from the final qualifying spot a year ago and just one stroke away as a sophomore.
While Herman earned his first state trip, the five other members of the Lincolnwood boys golf team will have to wait at least another year. The Lancers would shoot a 364 as a team, 21 strokes behind Cambridge for the third and final team qualifying spot. Peoria Christian would join Cambridge and Rock Island Alleman as state qualifiers with a second place finish with a 338.
Freshman Nate Brockmeyer would be the closest to equalling Herman's fete, shooting a 15-over-par 87 to finish 23rd overall and four strokes behind Herman and the other final qualifiers.
Braxton Schmedeke would finish in a tie for 56th with a 95, while Devin Brown added a 99 as he tied for 70th. Will Jenkins and Michael Graham would also play for Lincolnwood, shooting a 107 and a 118 to tie for 90th and 104th respectively.
Herman's season will continue on Friday, Oct. 18, at 9:33 a.m., when he tees off on the back nine at Prairie Vista with playoff pals Earl and O'Neill and Minonk Fieldcrest freshman Lucas Bernardi.
He will need to be on his game as the IHSA has determined that after the first day of competition at state, the field will be reduced to the top eight teams and the top 24 individuals not on one of the top eight teams, meaning that 40 players will be heading home.
October 14 at Mt. Sterling
Class 1A Boys Golf
Brown County Sectional
Rolling Greens - Par 72
Boys Team Results: 1. Rock Island Alleman 332, 2. Peoria Christian 338, 3. Cambridge 343, 4. Brimfield 359, 5. Lincolnwood 364, 6. Hamilton 366, 7. Auburn 373, 8. Williamsfield 375, 9. Pittsfield 384, 10. Illini Bluffs 388, 11. Jacksonville Routt 396, 12. Augusta Southeastern 404.
Medalist: Weston Walker (Peoria Christian) 74*Defeated Drew Hall (Rockridge) in a playoff.
Lincolnwood (364) - 12. Sam Herman 83, 23. Nate Brockmeyer 87, 56. Braxton Schmedeke 95, 70. Devin Brown 99, 90. Will Jenkins 107, 104. Michael Graham 118.
Individual State Qualifiers: Drew Hall (Rockridge) 74; Jeremy Ott (Brimfield) 76; Dain Richie (South County) 78; Cole Hopping (Rushville-Industry) 78; Blake Arnold (Liberty) 78; Brennan Welch (Sherrard) 81; Eli Andrew (Jacksonville Routt) 82; Evan Earl (Sherrard) 83, Dan O'Neill (Rockridge) 83, Sam Herman (Lincolnwood) 83.