There’s an old saying in golf, believed to be attested to legendary golfer Bobby Jones, which says, “Sometimes you beat the course and sometimes the course beats you.”
Well, that could be the way most of the local golfers felt after competing at the NJSIAA Golf Tournament of Champions at the Hopewell Valley Golf Course Monday afternoon.
If you took a poll among the local golfers from Morris County, they would probably say the same thing, that the course beat them.
None were pleased with the way they shot at the Tournament of Champions. Even the freshmen making their first-ever appearances among the big wigs were disappointed in their play. It was the general feeling that it just wasn’t their day, that the course did in fact beat them.
“It was a tough score,” said Delbarton sophomore Will Voetsch, whose score of 75 was good for a tie for 14th place overall, but was the lowest among local finishers. “Just the way I played, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t chip well. I didn’t putt well.”
Voetsch had a chance to finish among the top five if it weren’t for disaster in the final few holes.
“I hit one shot out of bounds on the fourth to last hole,” Voetsch said. “I ended getting a double bogey there. But even at that point, I was disappointed with the way I played.”
Voetsch did manage to finish in a tie for fifth place among Non-Public A golfers.
His Green Wave teammates also had a bit of a tough time, as Delbarton finished third among Non-Public A teams and fourth overall.
Kevin Godart, who had been shooting lights out of late, winning both the Morris County and Non-Public A North championships, shot a 78, as did teammate Ty Zebrowski, while Frank Szucs carded a 79.
The Green Wave had high hopes of perhaps challenging for the overall crown, but fell to Christian Brothers Academy, which blistered the course for a combined score of 299. The Green Wave shot a combined score of 310.
“I thought they played pretty well, but there are a lot of good players out there,” said Delbarton head coach Sean Flanagan. “The other teams were better than we were today. We left a bunch of shots out there and that’s the game of golf. The course played a little long and the greens were soft, but fair. It turned out to be a nice day, but it just wasn’t our day.”
Florham Park’s Sam Goldenring, who plays for Newark Academy, was right behind Voetsch with a similar score of 75.
“I really left a lot of shots out there,” said freshman Goldenring, who shot a 75, but lost in a one-hole playoff for second place among Non-Public B golfers to Ian Notkin of Montclair Kimberley. “My biggest problem was putting. I had at least four three-putts, which cost me strokes. I felt around all day, looking for my swing.”
Goldenring was reminded that he’s just a freshman and will get three more chances to improve his scores at future Tournament of Champions.
“That’s true, so I’ll take it,” Goldenring said. “It’s something to shoot for.”
Another freshman golfer was Evan Quinn of Morristown, who tied with Godart and Zebrowski with a score of 78.
“I’m not happy,” Quinn said. “I think I hit five greens all day if I’m lucky, maybe six. I couldn’t hit the ball straight to save myself. For me, it was more surviving than thriving. I had too many swing thoughts out there. I was thinking a little too much. I know I could do a lot better. Even as a freshman, I’m disappointed.”
Quinn did manage to tie for fifth among Group III golfers, but that was no consolation.
Andrew Guido was next among the Group III finishers. The Park Regional senior shot an 81 and also felt like his game left a lot to be desired.
“I just wasn’t right today,” Guido said. “I could have done better.”
Guido’s score of 81 was good for eighth place among Group III finishers. Matt Ferriero of West Morris and Lars Kjaeroe both carded rounds of 85.
“I think the slow play hurt me,” Kjaeroe said. “I like to play quick. I don’t like waiting. The rough was a killer and you can’t be in the rough to compete in a tournament like this. I kind of just fell apart after that.”
Perhaps the only local golfer who wasn’t disappointed was Jefferson’s Vinny Cannarozzi, who shot an 80 to finish sixth among local finishers and 11th among Group II golfers.
“I’m not really too upset,” Cannarozzi said. “But I know I could have done better. I put my chips close, but I got some unlucky breaks on my putts. I’d hit them one way and they would break another. I was striving for a 76 or a 78, so a score like 80 isn’t too bad, especially in a tournament like this. I just had to keep my composure. If I hit a bad shot, I had to come back with another.”
The two local teams other than Delbarton that qualified were Pequannock and Madison. Pequannock finished third among Group I schools with a score of 352. Griffin Lubba led the way for the Golden Panthers with an 86. Madison had an awful day, shooting 383. Alex Bollington was the top Dodger finisher with a round of 87.
There was one consolation for all the local golfers. Monday’s tournament was not the last outing of the season. Other than Goldenring, they all still have the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference championships next Tuesday at Flanders Valley.
“I think our kids will be excited to go out and end their season on a high note,” Flanagan said.