|Peter French of Franklin had the ball moving in the right direction all day, capturing the Division 2 individual title. (Steve Haines for The Globe)|
St. John’s, Duxbury triumph
Wronoski, French top leaderboards
Nick McLaughlin shot a 1-over-par 71 and Nick Pandelena added a 73 to power St. John’s Prep to the MIAA Division 1 golf championship yesterday at Longmeadow Country Club.
The Eagles captured their first state title since 2002, compiling a best four-player total of 298, four shots better than BC High. The Prep had lost twice to BC High this season. Agawam was third at 306.
Brookline sophomore James Wronoski won the individual title with a 70, a round that included six birdies.
“This feels awfully good because the past two years we were undefeated but didn’t get out of the sectionals,’’ said St. John’s coach Larry O’Neill. “This is a one-day deal and you have to do it on that given day. We had six underclassmen, no seniors, and there’s been a lot of pressure on McLaughlin and Pandelena playing 1 and 2. They did a fabulous job.’’
The 6-foot-5-inch McLaughlin closed with a bang, sinking long-distance birdie putts on the last two holes. He drained a 25-footer on 17, and a 10-footer on 18.
“We played well all year and winning the states is pretty sweet,’’ McLaughlin said.
St. John’s Brandon Bingel and Matt Bullock each carded a 77 to complete the winning total.
Pandelena said he hit his driver well throughout the round.
“My wedges were a little sloppy, but not too bad,’’ he said. “The way we played in sectionals at Beverly, we knew we had a great chance coming out here, and we all shot under 80. We lost the Catholic Conference to BC High, but we came back and won the sectionals and now the states.’’
BC High was runner-up for the seventh time since 1987. James Holden matched Wronoski’s 70, but had not qualified for individual play. He was followed by Patrick O’Leary at 73, TJ McNulty 79, and Jake Yanulis at 80.
Holden’s round featured 6 birdies, 6 pars, and 6 bogeys over the Donald Ross layout, the site of the 2005 US Junior Amateur. Two of Holden’s birdies (on Nos. 5 and 9) came on 40-foot putts.
Longmeadow CC played at 6,255 yards, about 500 yards shorter than the US Junior yardage layout.
Wronoski, competing only as an individual, birdied Nos. 3, 7, 10, 13, 14, and 15.
“I think every birdie putt but one was within 4 feet,’’ Wronoski said. “I was the shortest hitter in my group. When they had a lob wedge, I had a 7-iron in.’’
Billerica’s Mitch Kurker had the best shot of the day, a hole-in-one on the 132-yard 16th.
Division 2 — Last fall, Duxbury coach Jack Stoddard shared what he called “the sweetest’’ championship victory he was ever a part of with his son, Jonathan. This year, father and son were winners again, as the Green Dragons clinched the 2010 title with a best four-player score of 317 at Pocasset Golf Club. Jonathan, a senior, led the team with a 76 on the par-72 course.
Jack Stoddard, who has coached Duxbury to five state titles in 21 years, is proud of his team’s accomplishment.
“It’s something we’ve been working for all year long, trying to do it back-to-back,’’ Stoddard said. “I have eight really good players and the hardest thing that I had to do was decide who I was going to take and I left two out who probably could have helped us a lot.’’
The other Green Dragons contributing to the victory were Nick Drago (78), James Magner (79), and Cam Daley (84).
“It feels good to win,’’ Jonathan Stoddard said. “It’s been the same group of kids playing together growing up, ever since we were young, and now we’ve gotten to win it twice in a row.’’
Franklin (324) finished second, and boasted the tournament’s medalist. Peter French, the only junior on the senior-laden Panther squad, recorded a 74. Matt Montt (75) of Hanover was second in the individual contest.
French was disappointed he couldn’t share a first-place victory with the entire team.
“I was hoping I would come away with a win and I did so it feels good,’’ French said. “I wish we’d won as a team as well, because we’re losing our seniors this year I was hoping to pull out a victory. We were coming down hoping to win, but I guess we couldn’t.’’
Wellesley (330) placed third and Beverly (332) fourth.