PLAINFIELD – Kait Natividad is clearly not afraid to change things up.
Natividad, a Yorkville senior, tweaked her golf swing shortly before the start of the high school season. She twice switched putters in the last week.
Change, apparently, is good.
Natividad fired a 3-over par 75 on a damp Thursday at the Links of Carillon. It earned Natividad medalist honors at the Class 2A Plainfield North Regional, and led the Yorkville team to its first sectional in program history.
It's the first individual regional title for Natividad, already a three-time state qualifier and three-time conference champion.
"I'm so happy for Kait," Yorkville coach Eva Schoenfielder said. "She's worked so hard over the last four years. She's really been the pillar of our team. To have [younger sister] Mia [Natividad] come in behind her and the other girls, it takes a whole team."
Mia Natividad (78) took fourth place, followed by Alexis Nelson (109), Lanie Leonard (109) and Mackenzie Melzer (112) as Yorkville's 371 team score was second to Neuqua Valley's 318. Oswego co-op (394) was the third advancing team.
Kait Natividad said a huge hook in her swing led her to make a big swing change in the offseason. She worked with her swing coach and dad on it.
"I was a little concerned but she said 'Coach, I need to get ready,'" Schoenfielder said. "She knew. She knew she'd be ready by the end of the season and that's what she did."
Natividad felt just as confident about her putter changes.
"I switched from the putter I used at conference to the one I used 2-3 years ago and realized I didn't like it and switched back," Natividad said. "I like the feel better. The other putter I had to have a different stroke to get the same results. I didn't want to make that big of a change this week. I putted a lot better than at conference."
Natividad earlier in the season shot a 75 for second place at Carillon, albeit on the a different course there.
She was even through eight holes Thursday, had a bad bogey on the ninth but fought for it on the back nine. She posted a steady 38-37, with a birdie on No. 18 to close the round.
"I was just consistent all the way around," Natividad said. "I didn't have any really bad holes, didn't make a double, no blow-up holes. It was nice to have that prior experience with how the course played."
Mia Natividad, who edged her older sister to win a conference title last week at Fox Bend, came in three shots behind.
"I wasn't hitting it the best and I kind of fell off a little bit at the end. I doubled the last hole, that was kind of bad," Natividad said. "The short par 3s I was struggling on. I'm just happy to move on. It's really good that [Kait] won. I'm proud of her."
Schoenfielder was proud of her girls as a whole.
"We will take this cruddy weather all the time," Schoenfielder said. "My girls are rain troopers. We like the cool weather."
Oswego co-op, meanwhile, advanced to sectionals as a team for the fourth straight year. Summer Hawkins, sixth individually Thursday, has been a part of all four.
She shot an 84 Thursday, a round not necessarily indicative of how well Hawkins said she struck the ball.
"I was hitting the ball really well today actually," Hawkins said. "It's just chipping wasn't there. I actually had good putts, but no birdies. Usually I have one or two. But I was hitting the ball well. I was just a little off."
Oswego's other counting scores came from sophomores Katie O'Driscoll (100), Eryn Monn (105) and Katie Gilmartin (105).
Both local teams advance to next Monday's sectional at Silver Lake Country Club in Orland Park.
"I'll do a practice round this weekend at the course. I know what to do. I know the layout and I go into it confident that I can play better," Hawkins said. "Just don't be scared. Just play my game. I was hitting my long irons well today, hit a few hybrids. I just couldn't get the score down."