WILMINGTON – The theme was simple for Salesianum in 2015.
After winning back-to-back state championships in basketball earlier this year, the boys golf team and Liam Murphy took home the team and individual honors in Wednesday’s finals of the state golf tournament at the Wilmington County Club.
“Two years in a row is tough to do. There are a lot of darn good players out here,” said Sallies coach Bill Carello. “I just had a feeling that Liam was going to do it again.”
The ending was like something out of a movie for Murphy. The senior was at his best in his final moments. After shooting a 77 in round one, Murphy finished with a 69 to give him a total of 146.
“Today was the best round of golf I’ve ever played,” he said. “I can say that with no doubt. It was all just coming easy.”
“It’s great timing. It was like a storybook, and about all you could ask for.”
The Sallies placed three golfers in the top 5, with Reed Winkler (151) and Ryan Rucinski (153). Red Lion’s Austin Barbin (151) also tied for second, and Tatnall’s Kevin Levitsky (154) rounded out the top 5.
On the team side, the Sallies shot 531, and were followed by Tower Hill (548) and Charter of Wilmington (567) in the top 3.
However, the surprise of the tournament may have been the play of Charter’s Esther Park. The eighth-grader tied for eighth place (157) and was the only girl to make the cut, as well as the top 10.
“I guess I’m bringing the girls back,” she said with a laugh. “But it’s fun playing with the guys. They talk a lot, and they’re funny.”
With a top 3 finish, and a budding star in Park who has four more years left, Charter coach Jeff Kosinski is very optimistic about the future of his program.
“She’s been playing wonderful all year, and has been lights-out,” he said. “Coming in as an eighth grader and competing against seniors is a tough thing to do.”
“Her future is very bright, and I think she’s going to be a top level college player.”
With Park’s development, Charter will definitely be in the hunt for a title next year. Salesianum will lose three seniors, but Carello believes his stable of juniors and freshmen could be good enough to pull off a three-peat.
“We’re planning on it, and we’re going to do whatever we can do to make sure it happens,” he said. “It takes hard work and good effort, and I think we have a good shot at it again next year.”