ATKINSON, NH — The Tewksbury High Golf team had only one match this past week, but they certainly made the most of it, pulling out a thrilling and somewhat historic 10.5-9.5 victory over MVC rival and perennial power Central Catholic last Wednesday at Atkinson Country Club to improve to 2-1 on the season. The win was the first for the Tewksbury High Golf program over Central Catholic in over 20 years.
“We respect those guys and their program, they compete and succeed at the highest level across the board, without question, and we know what were up against and this is a really good win for not just our golf program, but for all TMHS sports,” Tewksbury coach Jim Sullivan said. “This was the first time in over 20 years that the Redmen have been successful on the scoreboard against Central Catholic, which speaks to the level of their program, and the excitement about the strides that we have made in ours.”
Heading into the match, knowing that Central Catholic possesses the top two players in the league at the top of their lineup, the Redmen knew that they had their hands full at the top of the order, and that they were going to have to come up with a handful of points somewhere else in the lineup. Considering their depth this season, it appeared that it was going to have to come from the back of the lineup, which would them mean that the match would be determined from the two middle groups in the lineup.
That certainly proved to be the case, as Central jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead behind the efforts of their top two players, Josh LaVallee and Mikey Yfantopoulos, who came out on top despite the best efforts of Tewksbury juniors Anthony Pecci and John Beatrice.
“Anthony and John played and worked together but unfortunately the 1 under par 35's that each player shot in the match would end up being too much for them,” Sullivan said. “There's nothing wrong or shame in losing to those two guys, they are tremendous golfers that play at a very high level and are extremely accomplished, and will both be in the discussion for player of the year come the end of the the season”
Group 3, for the Redmen, consisting of senior Jake Nordstrom and junior Sam White earned a 3.5-1.5 victory to close within 6.5-3.5 in the match. Nordstrom who earned a flat in the match, while White came away with a 2&1 win and the two combined for a flat in the four ball match.
Group 4, which had the 7's and 8's in it, were the next ones to finish as Central Catholic sent the players out in reverse order, with the 7's and 8's starting on the second hole to try and move play along a bit. On the tee of their 9th hole of the day, which was actually the first hole, the Redmen were looking to "balance the books/score" with Group 1 as they lead in all three matches in the group, with Max Cummings match already being decided as Max had earned a 3&2 win, and the Redmen leading in the four ball match 1 Up, as was senior Campbell Pierces individual match.
When the dust settled and the hole was finished, Pierce had earned a flat in his match, Cummings had a win and the two combined for a win in the four ball match, earning the Redmen a 4-1 group victory, which knotted up the match, 7.5-7.5 with just one group, and plenty of drama, remaining.
Group 2 stood on the ninth tee with two points in their pocket as senior co-captain Garrett Kingston had already won his individual match 2&1 giving the Redmen 9.5 points.
The Redmen were guaranteed at least a point as they led 1-up in the four ball match, but that would result in a flatted or tied match and Brady Lane was all square as well, but that meant that there were either one or two points available there.
As it turned out, Kingston came through in the clutch for the Redmen, making a par to win the four ball and get the elusive one point that the Redmen needed to win the match. Kingston won his match 2&1 while he and Lane combined for a 2 Up four ball victory as they earned a 3-2 group victory and the Redmen a 10.5-9.5 team victory
“This was a great win for our kids and program,” Tewksbury coach Jim Sullivan said. “It was a fantastic day today for the Tewksbury golf program and I am so happy for all of these kids for putting in the time and effort to improve and get better. It doesn't happen very often at the varsity level where one of our teams goes out and beats Central Catholic who is drawing from our own community and others across the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire, but today it did.”