LONG GROVE — Matt Cain had his eye on a school-record round.
As the Davenport Assumption junior strolled to the par-3 16th hole Monday afternoon at Glynns Creek Golf Course, he was 2-under for his round and needed one more birdie to possibly shoot in the 60s.
"I knew the school record was 69," Cain admitted. "I was thinking 60s could happen knowing a par 5 was coming up (at 17)."
A three-putt bogey at 17 squelched that, but Cain rebounded with a birdie at the 18th to turn in a career-low 70 and earn medalist honors to propel Assumption to the title at the 10-team North Scott Lancer Invitational.
The Knights had three players finish in the 70s to register a 306 total, four strokes clear of runner-up Muscatine.
It was Assumption's best score of the season after posting 320 in its first two 18-hole meets at Bloomington, Ill., and Macomb, Ill.
"This (306) is where we belong," Assumption coach Gary Laake said. "We're starting to show more consistency. I'm still not totally satisfied because we're never going to have rounds all the time where somebody shoots 70."
Assumption qualified for the Class 4A state tournament for the first time in nine seasons last year. While the overall depth might not be on par to that squad, the Knights have four players back from that team in Max Gogel, Cain, Griffin Steer and Tom Schebler.
The eighth-place finish at the state meet showed Assumption isn't far off from competing against the state's elite programs.
"The four of us know if we all play well, we can keep up with any other team," Cain said. "It is just a matter of doing it."
John Lystuik stepped in and was Assumption's fourth score Monday with an 83. Not only was it his low round of the season, he did it after making an eight on his first hole.
Gogel is the Knights' top player after taking sixth at the state tournament. Cain has a team-best stroke average of 75.7 through three meets, almost seven shots better than a year ago. Steer and Schebler are around 80 strokes so far.
"Last year really motivated us to keep playing better," said Gogel, who registered a 3-over 75. "A lot of us played in summer tournaments to get that experience and feel the pressure.
"So far, everybody seems to improve from meet to meet. That is key for us moving forward."
The 70 by Cain was the low round any Assumption player has shot this season.
He made birdies at 2, 12, 15 and 18 to offset bogeys at 1 and 17.
"I just hit a lot of greens," Cain said. "It was really solid ball-striking today."
With the exception of Burlington, every other Mississippi Athletic Conference school was at the meet.
Assumption has plenty of incentive to win the MAC this year after falling one stroke short last season.
"These guys found out today we have something to prove this year," Laake said. "That kind of stuck in our brains a little bit. We want to rectify that this year."
Bettendorf's Benny Flanagan was the individual runner-up with an even par 72. The Bulldogs finished tied for third with North Scott at 317.