Wilmette, Sports

Back on Course: Sichol twins both find way to Division III golf championships as freshmen

Peyton and Carter Sichol have shared plenty of golfing experiences over the years, but one in May was unlike any of the rest.

The twin sisters, college freshmen and New Trier High School graduates, both played in the NCAA Division III Championship — for different teams.

Carter’s squad at Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota) earned an automatic berth to the national tournament by winning its conference tournament last fall. Peyton, who plays for Hamilton College (Clinton, New York), advanced as an individual this spring.

It was a memorable few days in May at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida, with the Sichols’ parents, brother, grandparents and some uncles on hand as a cheering section.

Peyton Sichol tees off in the rain as a freshman at Hamilton College.

“We had a lot of family there,” said Peyton, who also hung out with Carter’s Carleton teammates.

That made a hectic stretch a little less stressful.

“This was my last week of school,” Peyton said. “It was not the best timing. I had a couple of finals I did while I was in Florida; some I had to move till I got back.”

The run-up to nationals was less crazy for Carter, partly because she didn’t have to worry about qualifying.

“There was a lot less pressure during the spring season,” she said. “You could focus on what you needed to improve on and not (have to) try to shoot a really low score.”

Carter led Carleton at nationals, shooting 80-76-76 for a three-round total of 232 on the par-73 course to finish 10th individually. She was on pace for an even better score but for some unfortunate luck on th third day.

A lightning delay forced the course to be evacuated, and during the delay, NCAA officials decided to cancel and eliminate the entire third round because of an unplayable hole.

Carleton College’s Carter Sichol watches a tee shot during a tournament.

According to GolfWeek/USAToday, the green on the par-4 sixth hole feature a drastic slope near the hole, causing many near-misses to roll back up to 15 feet. All third-round scores did not count, and the tournament was trimmed to 54 holes, instead of 72.

“Later that night they ended up erasing that entire round,” Carter said. “I had been playing pretty well; through 16 I was 1-over.

“It was definitely really frustrating. … I feel there were a bunch of other similar situations that didn’t involve erasing the entire round.”

In any case, Carter helped Carleton finish 15th in the 29-team field at 993. Peyton shot 88-82 for her two rounds.

“It definitely was not my best,” Peyton said.

Still, the experience made for some priceless memories, morphing into a family golfing trip.

“It was definitely super cool,” Peyton said. “Our parents have always watched all of our tournaments.”

And the sisters have shared their golfing experiences through high school and junior events, something that changed when they took different college paths. But for one week, it was just like old times.

“There’s a lot of junior golf tournaments we always played in (together),” Carter said. “Now that we’re not juniors, there’s not a lot of options (to do that).”

Until they both wound up at the D-III nationals.

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Mike Clark

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