BARRINGTON: Niles North’s Yamat aces Jr. Am test at Makray Memorial
Maine East's Orion Yamat drives off the 4th tee during sectionals at Balmoral Woods Country Club. l Gary Middendorf~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:43AM
BARRINGTON — Nick Hardy was mostly smiles after his final round at the Illinois State Junior Amateur last week.
Considering his descent from the pole position following the first round to third place, that’s impressive.
But the junior-to-be at Glenbrook North is a hardened tournament veteran by now and understands the golf course punches back and mostly wins.
Hardy carded 68-73-78 at Makray Memorial in Barrington. His birdie on the par-5 18th gave him third place alone, one stroke better than Lake Forest’s Ian Mankoff.
Hardy slid down the leaderboard in the third round after posting two bogeys and a double bogey over the first four holes. But he rallied to shoot ever par on the back to finish at 6-over for the tournament, nine strokes off Raymond Knoll’s winning score.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Hardy said. “The only nerves I get is when I put pressure on myself. It was one of those days when I hit some bad shots early. If I played my game, I could have won.
“But I stuck my head up and kept playing hard. Not a lot of people would have done that on a hot day.”
Maine East’s Orion Yamat had a memorable tournament. The sophomore from Niles scored a hole-in-one on the 164-yard, 13th hole in the first round and then closed out the tournament with a 1-over 72 to tie for 11th (76-83-72).
“I just wanted to go out there and put up a good number and see what happens,” said Yamat, one of the first players to finish Thursday. “I played smart out there and didn’t blow up on any holes.”
Yamat’s ace was the third of his playing career, but his first in several years.
“I never saw it go in,” said Yamat, who swung a 5-iron. “But I knew what happened because of the reactions.”
Recent Glenbrook South graduate Quinn Prchal, who will play at Princeton, made a move up the leaderboard on the final day by shooting an even-par 71 to tie for fifth (75-76-71).
One of Loyola’s top players, Michael Abrahamson continues to improve. The junior tied for 15th (74-77-81) at the State Junior Amateur, but he knows he could have done better, despite holing out for eagle on the first hole of the tournament.
“My putting got progressively worse, and so my score got progressively worse,” said Abrahamson, who lives on Chicago’s northwest side. “I have figured out all the parts of my game except for that. Once I do, I will shoot better scores.”
Abrahamson was one of two Ramblers from last year’s postseason lineup to make the cut at Makray Memorial. Michael Hultquist, a senior, tied for 42nd (78-80-84).
“The ultimate goal is for us to do well at the state tournament,” said Abrahamson, who tied for 21st as a sophomore. “I want to make it back as an individual and help our team win it.”