Housen Financial All-Star Challenge highlights camaraderie among golfers

Housen Financial All-Star Challenge highlights camaraderie among golfers

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Housen Financial All-Star Challenge highlights camaraderie among golfers

By

JACKSON

As the late afternoon sun dipped below the tree tops, and the best Shore Conference golfers sat together around the final green at Metedeconk National waiting for the last groups to finish, it was scene that said everything about the Housen Financial All-Star Challenge.

“This is what it’s all about, the camaraderie,” said Ocean golf coach Dave Ruch, who came up with the idea for the season-ending event in 2000. “They guys play against each other all season long, and this is an opportunity to play together. And as you can see, it has served its purpose well.”

And competitively, it turned out to be a heck of an afternoon as well.

When Manasquan sophomore Logan Sabins walked off the green with a victory in the final singles match of day, it capped a roller coaster day, with his point enabling the Mischler Division squad to hold off a furious comeback by the Handchen Division team, leaving the matches in a 6½-6½ standoff for the second straight year.

“Not only do they bond together, the way they play is great,” added Ruch. “They played from the back tees, and this is a very tough golf course.”

With the top players from Monmouth and Ocean counties split up to form two seven-man squads, the day began with nine hole better-ball matches in the morning, followed by nine holes of alternate-shot before a lunch break.

At that point, Mischler Division squad held a commanding 4½-1½ advantage heading into the seven afternoon singles matches.

But Sabins and Shore Conference champion Jerry Wall from CBA produced their only two points of the session.

Emerging with critical points for the Handchen squad were Howell’s Dawson Jones, who tied for second at the recent NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, CBA’s Vince Palazzolo, Monmouth’s Brandon Gutzler, Wall’s Connor Birch and Sabins.

It was in stark contrast to the early matches, when the Mischler squad dominated the action.

They produced a clean sweep in the morning better ball matches, as the team of Wall and Rumson-Fair Haven’s John Edler won the day’s first match, Freehold Township’s Jared Goldstein and CBA’s Ethan Wall, and Sabins and St. Rose’s Tommy Burns winning their matches.

In alternate shot, Ethan Wall and Burns finished all square with Birch and Gutzler, while Edler and Sabins won their match. It wasn’t until the final match of the morning sessions that Toms River North’s Christian Da Silva teamed with Palazzolo to get the Handchen squad’s first point.

A day earlier at Bella Vista in Marlboro, the girls contested their own Challenge Cup.

Employing the same format as the boys, with each match lasting six holes instead of nine, Monmouth County produced a 13½-1½ victory over the Ocean County team.

Competing for Monmouth were Taylor and Nicole Totland, and Arianna Palmeri from Red Bank Catholic, Beth Bohny and Haley Mander from Holmdel, Katie Veasey from Rumson and Julia DeSanctis from Middletown South.

The Ocean County squad consisted of Jackson Memorial’s Sarah Vallee, Central’s Maeve Burg, Barnegat’s Colleen Anderson, Pineland’s Danielle Elia, Southern’s Lauren Sheehan, Toms River North’s Chandler Schalhoub and Lacey’s Emily Hughes.

Ocean’s only points came in singles, as Elia took her match and Schalhoub got a half-point.

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