There were clear signs concerning Chris Gotterup’s potential during his freshman campaign for Christian Brothers Academy in 2014. After all, not many players finish tied for third at their first Shore Conference Tournament, or get into a playoff for the individual title at an NJSIAA sectional.
But with the Colts graduating a pair of Division I golfers in Jerry Wall and Vince Palazzolo, there was going to be more pressure on Gotterup as a sophomore at the top of the lineup for one of the state’s powerhouse programs.
Undaunted, Gotterup shrugged off the expectations for himself and the Colts, and won the Monmouth County Tournament to open the season.
And by season’s end, Gotterup, the Asbury Park Press Boys Golfer of the Year, was finishing second at the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions, while the Colts, who racked up team titles all season, finished second overall to Bergen Catholic.
“That was a great way for Chris to finish out the season, and a great way for him to go into the second half of his career,” CBA coach Tim Sewnig said.
“We knew right way something special with Chris because he came out guns a blazing last year. It’s funny, people feel like he’s been around a long time already.”
Still, Gotterup felt like he had something to prove as he entered his sophomore campaign.
“I had a good season last year, but I didn’t do anything that I wanted to,” he said. “I didn’t win anything. So coming out at the first tournament of the year and getting the win was really important and it just helped me keep going the rest of the season.”
It also helped jump start the Colts, who some felt were vulnerable this season with the loss of their top two players.
But with three starters returning, including seniors Sean Farren and Jack Doherty, they had more than enough to win the Monmouth County and Shore Conference titles, with Gotterup finishing tied for seventh at the SCT.
“We lost Jerry and Vinny and there was a big question mark about who was going to fill in,” Gotterup said. “But Jack and Sean stepped up and we showed that at Monmouth County. We finished 70, 71, 73 … we solidified that we were still the best team at the Shore.”
The ultimate goal at CBA, however, is the overall state championship, which they’re won twice over the past five years.
They took the first step toward that goal by winning the NJSIAA South-Central Non-Public A title, as Gotterup led the Colts to the title by finishing tied for second overall.
Then, a week later at Hopewell Valley, his round of 70 was second best among the top players in the state.
“We’re disappointed with two second place finishes at the state championship,” Gotterup added.
“That’s a goal for me and the team, but it’s the team first right now. I’ll try to so my best for the team if that wins a state championship, that’s great.”
Staff writer Stephen Edelson: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @SteveEdelsonAPP