By BRIAN JENNINGS
There are no second chances in golf and no margin for error. Throw away the regular season records. It all comes down to one score…one day.
In order for a team to have a great day at the Division I championship, you need four golfers to score in the 70s—and one of those golfers probably has to flirt with the 60s. That’s just what you need to be in the mix with the better teams in the state.
Forget about what it takes to come away with the win.
Five of the top seven teams in the Division I championship produced at least three golfers in the 70s. Southington just had one. But Southington coach Jim DiNello said that he believes four out of his five top golfers were all capable of shooting in the 70s as well.
“I would have to believe that the other guys that played pretty good golf all year long were capable of doing that, but it just didn’t work out that way for us,” the coach said. “We had a couple guys that were able to do that, but I’m still proud of them.”
Southington’s performance at the state championship certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort, but near-40-degree weather and a soggy golf course aren’t your ideal tournament conditions. Still, DiNello said that he didn’t want to blame conditions.
“Everyone played in the same conditions, and other teams were able to post really good scores,” said the coach. “In that kind of a venue, you need to have a certain degree of mental toughness and play one shot at a time, putting the weather in the back of your mind.”
After coming off the CCC Championship with a 329 at conference championship less than a week earlier, the Blue Knight golf team went a stroke higher at the Division I championship with a 330 (42-over-par), placing 13th out of 20 teams.
“For this team, I felt like somewhere under 320 was realistic for us,” the coach said. “That would have been on a day where maybe we didn’t have our best stuff.”
Nate L’Heureux was the only Southington golfer to shoot in the 70s, tying for 23rd with several golfers after carding a 78 (6-over-par).
“Nate is a good ball striker,” said DiNello. “You can’t spray the ball all over the place, you have to understand when to leave the driver in the bag, and you have to be willing to take bogey, take your medicine, and move on to the next hole. Those are all things that Nate has learned to do pretty well over the course of his four years.”
Max Chubet recorded Southington’s second-best round after carding an 81. CJ McManus (83), Cam Zegzdryn (88), and Mike Zera (88) contributed as well.
“Max in the five spot playing his first open with an 81 was really good,” the coach said. “I think the other guys would probably tell you that they felt they probably could have played better.”
Golfers were scheduled to tee off at 7:30 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, June 6, but heavy rain at Fairview Farms Golf Club in Harwinton delayed the championship for about an hour and a half. The delay not only let a pocket of storms move through, not allowing the Knights to get hit with a single droplet, but it was beneficial in another way as well.
“For a lot of high school guys, not just our team, that’s a pretty early day to get started in what is the biggest golf day of the year for the kids,” said DiNello. “It gave the guys a chance to kind of calm down and settle down, not having to get there and run right out to the tees.”
Xavier edged Greenwich by six strokes to claim the Division I title with all four of its golfers in the 70s. Chris Fosdick led the way for the Falcons with an even-par 72. Hamden’s Alexander Aurora was medalist with a 69, followed by Greenwich’s Jackson Fretty (71).
The Knights are losing seniors L’Heureux, Zera, and John Mindek to graduation after this season. DiNello was able to start several different lineups this year, including three freshmen in varsity spots at different points over the season. All of those freshmen broke 40 in varsity matches.
“Conceivably, there are freshmen, sophomores, and seniors going into next year, and it’s wide open,” the coach said. “I’m optimistic about what I think can happen. These guys are all really passionate about golf, and I know that they’re going to put the work in during the offseason.”
Southington finished the season at 8-8 overall.
For this week’s box scores, click here: (southingtonobserver.com/2017/06/13/weekly-scoreboard-for-the-june-16-edition). To contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at BJennings@SouthingtonObserver.com.