Loyola head coach Tim Kane said there was a collective concern from the players he polled throughout Wednesday’s round at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont.
It turned out to be much ado about nothing.
Behind a six scores in the 70s, the Ramblers posted 298 to capture the Catholic League conference championship. They were six strokes clear of defending champion Fenwick (304). Marmion (311) took third in the 11-team field.
“The players felt like they were struggling, and there was some frustration,” Kane said. “They all thought they could have been playing better. But the course wasn’t giving them that. It was windy, and it was a tricky wind. I told them to put their heads down and take it one shot at a time.”
Loyola was led by senior Peter Radler, who shot a 1-under 71 to finish second. Fenwick senior Josh Kirkham earned medalist honors after his 70.
Radler played a bogey-free first nine to make the turn at 1 under. He returned to even par before carding a birdie on No. 17. He closed out his round by two-putting for par from roughly 60 feet.
“I was worried about the way I was hitting the ball coming in, but I hit it well,” Radler said. “I got off to a good start, and there was not a lot of drama on the front. I had a little trouble on the back, but the birdie on 17 was huge for me. It was nice to make that long putt on 18.”
But it was a true team effort for Loyola, which won its third tournament of the season and second this month. All six players shot 77 or better, and all six earned all-conference honors for finishing in the top 10.
Seniors Jack Crawshaw and Christopher Lee each shot 75 and tied for fourth. Senior Ryan Savarie, junior Sam Maylee and sophomore Patrick Adler all posted 77s to tie for eighth.
“Having that depth is a huge key, especially in the postseason,” Radler said. “It’s big to know you can count on every player to score well.”
Loyola tees it up Tuesday at the Class 3A regional tournament at Wilmette Golf Club. The sectional tournament is Oct. 8 at Mount Prospect Golf Club. The Ramblers won both the regional and sectional last year for the first time in program history.
“We have some momentum, but we know the competition level is going to be higher,” Radler said. “Our games have to be sharper next week. We all have some work to do.”