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Columnist
Fore? It's top five for these champs
By Dave Oberhelman | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 10/23/2008 12:05 AM

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Hail the conquering heroes.

In each of her four years at Driscoll, Gianna "Gigi" DiGrazia has finished no worse than 16th in the girls state golf tournament.

Earning a golf scholarship to Iowa along the way, she finished in a tie for 16th as a freshman, seventh in Class AA as a sophomore and second in Class A as a junior.

Last weekend at Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Carbondale she reached the summit, winning the girls Class A title.

Rather than detail that 5-stroke victory, we asked Driscoll's reigning homecoming queen to name the five favorite holes on golf courses she's played, in no particular order. Here she goes:

• No. 6, Torrey Pines North Course, La Jolla, Calif.: "It's a par-3 and the tee box is about 150 feet above the actual hole," she said. "It drops straight down and you're looking down into the ocean. It's the prettiest hole I've ever played, I think."

• No. 17, PGA West Stadium Course, Palm Springs, Calif.: "Another par-3, probably one of the only island greens I've ever played. Another beautiful hole."

• No. 5, Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.: "It's a typical Pinehurst hole. The green's a turtle shell, just a very difficult hole. To hold the green you have to hit a perfect shot. Donald Roth, the creator of the course, lived right on the course."

• No. 15, Erin Hills Golf Course, Erin Hills, Wis.: "It's like a dogleg left, a par-4, and the green is about 50 feet above you so you're hitting an elevated approach. There's a ridge running through the green, and the green kind of drops off into these treacherous bunkers. They're just impossible."

• No. 14, The Legend at Brandybrook, Wales, Wis.: "A par-4, the hole is a dogleg left but completely L-shaped. The approach shot is extremely difficult. You have to hit a long iron onto an elevated green over water, and the green is totally surrounded by bunkers."

Not to be outdone - and last weekend at Normal's Weibring Golf Club he wasn't - Wheaton Academy junior David Flynn won the boys Class 2A individual title, leading the Warriors to a third-place team finish. It's his third straight downstate appearance, with a seventh-place finish in 2007.

Flynn welcomed a sharp duck-hook away from the usual golf talk. An avid reader who has learned to play 17 musical instruments and who makes his own films, he said: "Movies are more who I am, where golf is more what I do."

Thus in no particular order, Flynn's favorite independent films.

• "Half Nelson": He said, "The film's style of all hand-held camera work I found interesting, and the story (of a drug-addicted teacher) I found was very much eye-opening."

• "The Squid and the Whale": "A powerful story about a family with kids whose parents are going through a divorce. ... It just made me sympathize or understand some of these (people in Flynn's own life) situations a little better."

• "The Savages": "I'm a big Philip Seymour Hoffman fan. I didn't fully appreciate his performance in 'Capote,' didn't know how great it was until I saw 'The Savages' ...playing a completely different character."

• "Everything Is Illuminated": "With Elijah Wood, it's the story of a Jewish boy who has an obsessive-compulsive disorder ... and of his journey (to find the woman who saved his Jewish grandfather in World War II) across the Ukraine with an anti-Semite and a Ukrainian hip-hop dancer."

• "Eve and the Fire Horse": "The story of a Chinese family growing up in Vancouver in the 1960s. The struggle and tension between the (traditional) grandparents and the mother who finds Christianity and the father who becomes an alcoholic and how it affects their children."

Good luck next year, David. We're sure you won't pull a "Tin Cup."

$CLASS=breakhead$It's a first

Timothy Christian senior soccer co-captain Jake Schemper was named to the Pepsi Showdown All-Tournament Team, the first such recognition accorded a Trojans soccer player. Schemper, the only player on the Pepsi all-tourney team from a local high school, was recognized with the all-stars at an Oct. 12 Chicago Fire game.

$CLASS=breakhead$Community calendar

Speaking of Halloween, the first annual Field of Screams Lacrosse Tournament will be held Oct. 25 at Players Indoor Sports Center in Naperville. According to Players general manager Paul Stolzer some 1,000 people are expected to participate in men's, women's, youth, middle school and high school divisions. Three indoor turf fields hold the action, which will decide who wins the coveted Pumpkin Head Trophy. Call (630) 470-6400 for details. Yes, the Pumpkin Head Trophy.

The tip-off reception for the fourth annual Hoops for Healing basketball tournament will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Edward Cancer Center in Naperville. The boys tournament has raised more than $27,000 for the Cancer Center. Along with Naperville North athletic director Doug Smith, who helped start this cause, people from Edward Hospital and Cancer Center are scheduled to speak, as well as coaches from participating teams, including great guys Mark Lindo, Naperville North; Kevin Gimre, West Chicago; and Steve Weemer, Waubonsie Valley.

doberhelman@dailyherald.com