HOPEWELL TWP. – If Delbarton senior Will Voetsch needed motivation at the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions on Monday, he needed to look no farther than his own home. Greg Voetsch, his father, had been a two-time New Jersey tennis champion while at Millburn, and frequently reminded his sons, John and Will, about the achievements.
Voetsch shot a sizzling three-under par 69, one shot better than Chris Gotterup of Christian Brothers Academy to capture the overall T of C gold medal at Hopewell Valley Golf Club. He had finished fifth overall with a 74 last year, and his other brother, who graduated from Delbarton three years ago, also played golf for the Green Wave.
“I was excited coming in, because I know I was playing some good golf,” said Voetsch, who qualified for the New Jersey State Open as an amateur by shooting a 72 at the qualifier on Sunday. “I knew that if I hit the fairways and stayed patient, I would have a shot. I knew that there were a lot of birdies out there.”
For Voetsch, there were five birdies overall – and three on the first five holes – giving the local duffer a ton of confidence going further.
“I only missed two fairways the whole day and finished it off well,” Voetsch said. “I shot a 34 on the front nine last year and thought I was in good shape, but I just couldn’t get it done.”
Voetsch shot a 40 over the back nine last year to finish with his 74. This year, Voetsch shot another 34 over the front nine, but finished it up with a 35 on the back nine.
Voetsch hit his tee shot into the trees on the 10th hole, but went up-and-down for par and settled down.
“He’s grown so much over the last four years,” Delbarton coach Sean Flanagan said. “He improved steadily. He never lets anything rattle him anymore. This is a phenomenal achievement. I’m super proud of him. He’s such a great representative of Delbarton.”
Voetsch, the Non-Public North A champion, was placed in the same foursome with rival Evan Quinn of Morristown, who had won North 1 and 2 Group III. While Voetsch was having the day of his young golfing life, Quinn once again struggled at the T of C.
Quinn finished with a score of 78, which placed him 26th overall, but second among Group III golfers.
“For the first 14 holes, I had it going, then I went bogey, bogey, triple bogey and par to finish it out,” said Quinn, who shot a dismal 84 last year. “At least, I proved to myself that I can put some good holes together here, but it’s disappointing. I suffered from some course management stuff, like using the wrong club off the tee and made some mistakes around the greens. I didn’t make putts, so that’s some nervous signs.”
Quinn and Voetsch will get one last chance to hit the course together this season when they compete for top honors at the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference championships next Tuesday at Flanders Valley.
Among the other locals, Sam Goldenring of Newark Academy, a Florham Park resident, shot a 76 to finish 11th overall and third in Non-Public B. John Shay of Morristown-Beard shot a 77, one shot behind Goldenring, to finish in a tie for fifth in Non-Public B and 19th overall.
Luke Haralampoudis of Morristown shot an 83 to finish ninth in Group III. Brian Quilty of Roxbury and Mendham sophomore Ryle Heraghty each shot an 84, good for a tie for 12th in Group III. Brett Lubba of Pequannock collected a score of 90, good for 16th among Group I golfers.
“It was disappointing, but it was a good experience,” Heraghty said. “Hopefully, I’ll get back here next year and do better. I just couldn’t get off the tee today. My game wasn’t there. I double bogeyed the first hole and that was it.”
Shay also had the distinction of enjoying the hole of the day, carding an eagle-three on the extremely difficult par-5 18th hole after bouncing his tee shot off a tree into the fairway.
Shay threw his arms into the air like he had just won the tourney.
“The golf gods were with me on that one,” Shay said. “It was an awesome day. It didn’t matter how I played. It just felt good to be here. I always wanted to get to the Tournament of Champions and I did.”