You might think that missing a chance to advance to the Class AA sectional tournament by just three strokes produced a bittersweet ending to Liz Jolie’s high school golf career Wednesday.
But the big smile on the Evanston senior’s face proved it was sweet — not bitter.
Jolie carded the best round of her career with an 88, saving her best for last with a round that included four birdies at the Fremd Regional tournament at Palatine Hills Golf Course in Palatine.
Jolie left the course on a high note after tapping in a 5-foot birdie putt that finished off a round that featured identical 44s. But the cutoff for automatic qualifiers who weren’t part of the advancing teams — Loyola Academy, New Trier and Glenbrook North — was at 85 at one of the state’s toughest regionals.
Evanston placed 8th in the 9-team field with a team score of 419 after solid rounds from junior Morgan Maslauski (54-49-103), sophomore Catie LaBranche (55-52-107) and freshman Clara Lynk (59-62-121) that will give the Wildkits a solid foundation to build on for the 2016 season.
Jolie did her best to keep her season alive, and there were no regrets for the senior after she absorbed the news that she came close.
“Maybe it is a little bittersweet, but that was my best-ever score and I’m really proud of the way I played today,” Jolie said. “It was really nice to get a birdie on that last hole because I knew a lot of people were watching me.
“When I played practice rounds here before, I was always short, but today I hit enough club and I stayed out of trouble. And on the majority of the holes I stayed down and focused when I was putting. I played it safe on the fairways, too, and usually I don’t do that.”
Jolie birdied No. 9, No. 12, No. 15 and No. 17 on a day with perfect weather conditions. New Trier’s Louise McCulloch earned medalist honors with a par 72 score to set the individual pace, while Loyola (310), New Trier (313) and Glenbrook North (322) dominated the team chase.
Next in the team standings in order were Glenbrook South (325), Fremd (331), Prospect (334), Hersey (342), ETHS and Wheeling (494).
“Last year I was a couple of shots from advancing but I was in the 90s,” Jolie recalled. “This was a great way to go out, breaking 90 for the first time.
“My freshman year I was in the 120s and 130s, so I’ve really improved a lot. And it’s been great to be a part of this (Evanston) program. I’ve made a lot of really close friends.”