Journal-News On The Line: Brown Goes From Lincolnwood To Lincoln

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The Lincolnwood High School golf team hasn’t had a losing season in its 30 year history, but even by the Lancers’ standards, the teams the last four years have been pretty good with 131 wins and just 20 losses. Now one of the key components of those teams has the opportunity to play at the next level.

Senior Devin Brown signed his letter of intent to play golf for Lincoln College on Thursday, Jan. 21, in front of his family and coaches, present and future.

“I want to improve myself and I want to get better at golf,” Brown said on why he chose to continue his playing career. With 800 students, the smaller size of Lincoln College also appealed to Brown.

“I come from a small town and I wasn’t recruited to play, so I know that some of these kids from smaller schools can be overlooked,” said Lincoln Head Coach Wade Mathis, a Stewardson-Strasburg grad who played at Illinois College before coaching at MacMurray, then Lincoln. “Just talking to him, you can tell he has a lot of potential. After looking at his results and everything, I’m very excited to have him coming on board.”

Brown lettered all four years in golf at Lincolnwood, starting nearly all the matches his junior and senior season and the majority of the Lancers’ bouts as a sophomore and freshman.

He would have his highs and lows as a freshman, averaging a 52.3 per nine holes and making the top six for the Lancers in the regionals and at the MSM Conference Tournament, which Lincolnwood won, but made steady improvement in his sophomore year. With the Lancers claiming another MSM title, in which he finished sixth individually, Brown shaved three strokes off his scoring average and 18 strokes off his regional score from the year before.

The big jump came in his junior year, when Brown cut six and a half strokes off his average, dropping it to 42.9, and placed second at the MSM tournament with a 79.

“About midway through my junior year is when I began thinking about playing golf in college,” Brown said.

And with good reason as he made it into the 30s twice during the season and never shot worse than 47 during the year. Lincolnwood also advanced to sectionals for the second time in Brown’s career,  taking second behind Hillsboro.

Despite the anarchy of 2020, Brown still played well in the shortened season. His average went up slightly to 44.83, but he came through big for the Lancers when they needed him most, helping Lincolnwood win their first regional title since 2009.

Brown shot an 82 on the day, second best on the team, and helped his team to a 329 overall, three strokes better than North Mac. His postseason success continued at sectionals as he shot an 88 to tie for 16th, Lincolnwood’s best score and a tally that would have put him in the state tournament if it hadn’t been cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions.

While he missed out on that opportunity, bigger ones await him at Lincoln College.

“We have a great tournament host this year, TPC Deer Run, where they host the John Deere Classic,” Coach Mathis said of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. “My guys are really excited, I’m really excited and it helps me recruit since we have such a great conference tournament.”

Brown said he plans to focus on his general education classes his first year before pursuing a major, but the opportunities will be there for him to grow academically and athletically at Lincoln.

Just one of the seven players on the varsity roster is a senior and Coach Mathis has two other commits coming in next year in addition to Brown. That means there will be some competition to make the Lynx top squad, but if this past year’s postseason results show anything, it’s that Brown has the ability to step up when the situation calls for it.

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