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Red Devils begin state title defense, Hornets abuzz with senior core

The 2013 boys golf season is underway and as teams across the area tee it up, the ultimate destination is the Bloomington-Normal area Oct. 18 to 19 for the state championship tournaments.

Hinsdale Central

Red Devils

Conference: West Suburban Silver

Home course: Hinsdale Golf Club, 140 W. Chicago Ave., Clarendon Hills

2012 results: 1st in regional, 1st in sectional, 1st in state

Coach: Jess Krueger

Top golfers:

Brian Dolehide, jr.

Kenneth Li, so.

Tom Olson, sr.

Brendan O’Reilly, fr.

What to watch:

In the middle of tryouts, head coach Jess Krueger still was looking for golfers to bolster the Red Devils’ depth. But depth might not be an issue with the kind of talent Central brings back from last year’s Class 3A state championship team.

Brian Dolehide, Kenneth Li and Tom Olson were among the Red Devils’ top-four scoring golfers in both the regional and sectional tournaments last fall. Dolehide and Li had top-20 individual finishes at state. With that kind of front-line talent, Kruger is taking a bit of a hands-off approach with this team.

“Just play your own game. Don’t push,” Krueger said when asked what coaching he needs to give his players. “They’re used to competing all summer so they know how to handle themselves on the course. After that, it’s just a matter of coming together as a team.”

Kruger said freshman Brendan O’Reilly was ready to jump into the fray this season, which started with two tournaments earlier this week and continues with Saturday’s Warren invite. The Red Devils have six invites scheduled through Sept. 7, so they will be tested in high-pressure tournament situations before the postseason starts. Central also will be tested in WSS play against 2012 state third-place team Lyons Township (Sept. 12 at home) and 2012 sectional qualifier York (Sept. 17 at York’s course). A repeat state title isn’t out of the question, but Krueger is focused on playing well.

“I’d just like to play solid golf at the start of the season and get a little better each week so that by the time of regionals, sectionals and state, we’re all playing nice golf,” Krueger said. “We just want to compete all the way through the season and play a little better each week.”

Hinsdale South Hornets

Conference: West Suburban Gold

Home course: Village Greens of Woodridge, 1575 W. 75th St., Woodridge

2012 results: 6th in regional

Coach: Bruce Kendrick

Top golfers:

Mike Basso, sr.

Caleb Jiles, sr.

Greg Murray, sr.

Pat Ormiston, sr.

Brian Strumillo, sr.

Jordan Urbancik, sr.

Jeff Vaci, sr.

What to watch:

Experience and leadership shouldn’t be a problem for the Hornets this season – of the eight golfers listed on the varsity roster, seven are seniors. Six of those were varsity players last fall: Michael Basso, Greg Murray, Pat Ormiston, Brian Strumillo, Jordan Urbancik and Jeff Vaci. Strumillo was a sectional and state qualifier, finishing tied for 46th in the state tournament.

“We have a nice, senior-dominated team this year,” coach Bruce Kendrick said.

The Hornets should be battled tested by the time the postseason starts with the regional tournament Oct. 8. They have eight invite tournaments on the schedule, including the Sept. 28 Hinsdale Central invite coming just ahead of the West Suburban Gold tourney Oct. 1. South also faces 2012 third-place team Lyons Township (Aug. 27), defending state champ Hindale Central (Aug. 29) and fellow WSG-contender Downers Grove South (Sept. 3) in consecutive dual meets.

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