Mother Nature has not been kind to area golfers in the last week.

It rained heavily Thursday during the NCIC Lincoln Division meet, and there was steady rainfall the same day during the NCIC Reagan Division meet at Senica's Oak Ridge and the Tri-County Conference meet at Snag Creek Golf Course in Washburn.

It rained again Saturday as seven local teams competed in the La Salle-Peru Invitational at Oak Ridge.

Hall senior Nick Rounds struggled in the wet conditions Thursday at the conference meet, shooting a 86, but he handled the poor weather better Saturday morning.

Rounds birdied three holes, including a near eagle on No. 7, to fire a 75 to place ninth. He was the top area finisher. Rounds helped the Red Devils to a 343 team total.

"Conditions were pretty similar," Rounds said. "I'm surprised I did so well. I just slowed down my game, hit the drivers straight. That's something I didn't do on Thursday. It feels good to bounce back."

Rounds was one of only three area golfers to shoot under 80. Princeton junior Collin Slattery carded a 78 to place 17th, and La Salle-Peru sophomore Nick Mertes shot a 79.

Lockport's Anthony Ladovico won the tournament with a 1-under-par 71. Providence Catholic claimed the team title with a 301, edging DeKalb (301) based on the fifth score.

Mendota and Putnam County tied for the area's top score with 338. Jon Prescott led the Trojans with an 82, and Putnam County No. 3 golfer Kurt Hilsgen fired an 82 to lead the Panthers. Phil Nanni carded an 84.

"Considering the conditions and what other teams shot, we did pretty well. I think we were at the top of the Class A teams," Putnam County coach John Keener said. "A few of the scores were a little high, but hopefully, we get a little bit lower for the regional. I think Kurt with his 82 had a really nice round."

Poor weather conditions have proved to be no problem for Slattery in the last week. Slattery weathered the rain with ease Thursday, shooting a 78 to take second in the Lincoln Division.

On Saturday, Slattery got off to a slow start with a bogey on No. 16 and a double bogey on No. 17 but then settled in. Slattery birdied No. 10. Slattery's score led the Tigers to a 343.

"I started off kind of shaky. I played 16-18 at 3-over. Then I went to the front and shot 2-over As I progressed through the round, I settled down and started making pars," Slattery said. "I've been playing pretty well in the rain. It wasn't as bad (Saturday), but it was still pretty rainy. I just try to stay dry, keep my hands dry and the grips dry."

Mertes has been consistent in the rain as well, shooting a 78 on Thursday to place fourth in the Reagan before turning in a 79 on Saturday.

"I need to get better at putting," Mertes said about Saturday's round. "I had about five three putts."

Mertes birdied No. 11. He had nine pars and eight bogeys.

"My drive went down in front of the creek, then I hit my 5-wood onto the green and two putts," Mertes said about his birdie.

Mertes' 79 was the best score for the Cavaliers, who shot a 349 to match Thursday's conference meet score. Brandon Moore had an 86, Jake Stiel had a 91 and Ben Ficek turned in a 93.

"We played pretty well," L-P coach Randy Gunia said. "The scores by Nick and Brandon were both real nice rounds again. Our fourth and fifth with Jake and Ben as sophomores are nice rounds. They brought their scores down from Thursday. Connor had a high round Thursday, but turned around and knocked off five strokes."

Garrett Fouth shot an 88 to lead St. Bede. The Bruins finished with 398 strokes. Marquette carded a 381. Blake Cannon had a team-best 93.

Ottawa was scheduled to compete in the L-P Invitational, but did not due to the teachers' strike.

Kevin Chlum can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 138, or at sports@newstrib.com.

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