Wahconah's Dos Santos Wins Western Mass Title
LENOX, Mass. -- Wahconah's Nate Dos Santos rallied from a rough start by staying out of the rough.
And his "percentage golf" added up to a 4-over-par 75 and medalist honors at the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Championships on Tuesday at Cranwell Spa and Golf Resort.
Playing as the lone individual in the event that drew eight teams, Dos Santos opened the day with bogeys on the first and third hole, two more bogeys on the front nine and a double on 10.
But he rallied from there, finishing with birdies on the 399-yard, par-5 fifth hole and 375-yard, par-5 18th to take the title by four strokes over Southwick's James Longhi and South Hadley's Jacob Allard, who each finished at 79.
Longhi and Allard led their teams to first and second places, respectively. Southwick won the sectional title with a team score of 334, two strokes better than the Tigers. Both those teams move on to the state championships next week in Grafton.
Mount Greylock's Ben Gilooly, like Dos Santos, qualified for the state meet as an individual after carding an 82, good for fifth place. His Mounties finished fifth in the eight-team field wiht a score of 372. Hoosac Valley finished just behind its Berkshire County rival with a sixth-place 376.
Dos Santos, who is a member at Cranwell, said he was gunning for an under-par score that would rival his personal best of 67 on the 5,011-yard layout. But he did not let his early struggles on the course get him down.
"I stayed patient," Dos Santos said. "I slowly nibbled my way through the course today. I didn't take big bites. I didn't go for stuff. I just played percentage golf. I hit greens, I hit fairways. And I had two chip-ins. That helped."
Gilooly was backed up by teammates Tenley Smith (92), Brayden Smith (97) and Connor Daley (101). Hoosac Valley was led by Derek Alibozek, whose 87 just missed the top 10 in the 49-player field. Henry Sniezek (92), Colby Rougeau and Hayden Grimes and Luc Trombley (both at 99) rounded out the scoring for the Hurricanes.
The conditions at Cranwell were not quite as bad as feared when the D2 sectional teed off at 10 a.m. Although light rain fell a couple of times, the heavy rains did not fall until just after the last group came in and the scores were being tabulated in the pro shop.
The big concern was wind, which was reported to be gusting up to 30 mph. Dos Santos said it definitely required some adjustments.
"I had to club up a lot," he said. "I had to play the fatty part of the green. Don't go pin hunting. It was tough."
Dos Santos' win gives Berkshire County two individual sectional champions and one runner-up this fall. Lee's Thomas Fraser won the D3 crown on Monday while Taconic's Michael Kays was finishing tied for second -- and qualifying for the state meet -- at the D1 sectional.
1. Southwick 334; 2. South Hadley 336; 3. Pope Francis 355; 4. Hampshire 364; 5. Mount Greylock (Gilooly 82, T. Smith 92, B. Smith 97, Daley 101) 372; 6. Hoosac Valley (Alibozek 87, Sniezek 92, Rogeau 98, Grimes and Trombley 99) 376; 7. Palmer 389; 8. Frontier 393.
Top 10 Individuals
(Top five qualify for state meet)
1. Nate Dos Santos, Wahconah, 75; t-2. James Longhi, Southwick, 79; t-2 Jacob Allard, South Hadley, 79; 4. Jacob Remillard, South Hadley, 81; 5. Ben Gilooly, Mount Greylock, 82; t-6. Chris Carey, Pope Francis, 83; t-6. Nicholas Kavrakis, Southwick, 83; 7. Chris Baker, Southwick, 85; t-8. Michael Corduff, Frontier, 86; t-8. Garrett Antosz, Hampshire, 86; t-8. Jared Waite, South Hadley, 86.