Karas rebounds to finish 21st at Windmill Open
Jay Karas, a Western Springs resident, finished 21st in his third Mid-American Junior Golf Tour event of the spring. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:29AM
Jay Karas has had a few rounds in the 80s this spring, but the Nazareth junior hopes Sunday’s 3-over-par 74 can turn into a confidence-builder for the rest of this summer.
The summer golf action will really heat up after school is completed this week. More players will come out for more tournaments and the focus will become greater once high school players don’t have final exams and other school commitments to worry about.
Karas, a Western Springs resident, finished 21st in his third Mid-American Junior Golf Tour event of the spring. It was also his highest finish of the season for any tournament after Karas carded an 85 Saturday in the first round of the Windmill Open at Mill Creek Golf Club in Geneva.
Sunday’s round was a 180 one day later as Karas birdied the par-4 third and the par-3 16th. Karas had three bogeys and one double bogey at the 337-yard, par-4 No. 7. His 74 was his lowest score of the season thus far.
“I just wanted to go out and post a good number; get a chance to finish in the top 20 and score around par,” Karas said. “My short game saved me today.”
Saturday’s 85 wasn’t his highest round of the spring, but it was close. Karas shot an 87 in his second round of the spring in the MAJGT’s Sanctuary Open April 21-22 in New Lenox. He finished tied for 39th in that event. He improved by firing 75-81—156 for 31st at the Windy City Open April 28-29 at Green Garden in Frankfort. Karas has yet to score a point on the MAJGT this spring, but will play in the Championship at Geneva National in Wisconsin June 12-14 and the Illinois State Classic in Normal in July.
Karas’ biggest tournament of the month is the Illinois State Junior Amateur, beginning June 26 at Makray Memorial Golf Club in Barrington.
But Karas considered the Windmill Open pretty important. There were 67 boys players and the tournament was won by recent St. Ignatius graduate Shamus Fitzpatrick of Hinsdale.
“This is my first big one, I’d say,” Karas said. “I look forward to playing in a couple of good tournaments to help me play in college.”
Karas was Nazareth’s second-leading scorer in last year’s Class 2A state meet, where the Roadrunners finished fifth as a team. Karas tied for 45th among individuals.
It should be an important summer for Nazareth, which only lost one senior (Riley Gallagher) to graduation from last year’s six state qualifiers. The projected returnees are Joe Mara, Karas, Bob Lively, Dan Saladino and Andrew Dobis. No other team from the state meet’s top five have that many returnees. Defending state champion Belleville Althoff lost only two seniors to graduation.
In addition to MAJGT events, Karas will play in Illinois Junior Golf Association tournaments this summer as well.
At the Windmill Open, Western Springs resident Matthew Walsh tied for 29th, In the girls tournament, LT sophomore Ciara Rattana finished 11th and Jamie Blechschmidt, an LT junior, took 16th. LT sophomore Jameson Mitchell was 19th.