McLaughlin Medals as Wahconah, Mount Greylock Tie for County Title
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. -- Mount Greylock coach Mitchell Spooner called it a couple of weeks ago.
"Every time we've played Wahconah this year, every shot has counted," he said.
On a day when every stroke literally did count, there was no space between the two squads.
Wahconah and Mount Greylock tied, 170-170, to share the county crown at Wyantenuck Country Club.
"This is fitting, you know, to end the year with them like that," Spooner said. "In a year when there's a lot of weird stuff going on, to have a nice rivalry going back and forth at our place and their place, it made it fun to compete like that again and feel like it's a real season.
"For these guys, too, to have that feeling and pressure and emotion is fun. It made for a good day."
No one had a better day on the modified front nine at Wyantenuck than Wahconah freshman Pat McLaughlin, who recorded just one bogey, on the 225-yard, par-3 seventh hole, and finished at 1-over 37 to take the individual title by two strokes over Monument Mountain's Brad Danyluck.
It was not just Spooner's Mounties who had trouble catching Wahconah on its home course. McLaughlin and his teammates were unstoppable in Dalton.
But earlier this week at Wyantenuck, the Spartans were 12 strokes better in a dual match.
McLaughlin said the talked about the challenge of going on the road for the season finale.
"I definitely talked to my teammates about what we wanted to do coming in -- just play it safe and don't get aggressive, and come out and play well together," he said.
Dan Wilson tied for seventh in the 20-player field with a 43. Tim Kaley and Brady Breitmaier rounded out the scoring for Wahconah with a pair of 45s.
Unlike a regular league dual match, where teams play six players apiece and count the top four scores, on Saturday just four players teed off for each of the five Berkshire schools playing competitive golf this season.
That meant everyone was playing without a net.
"It changes the format knowing, 'If I get a double [bogey] on a hole, my score still counts, and everything I do still counts," Spooner said. "So these guys have got to grind. They have to stay in it the whole time, and they have to earn everything out there. Nothing was given to these guys today."
The Mounties were led by Xander Axt, who was part of a three-way tie at 5-over 41.
Owen Petropolus (42), Cayden Conry (43) and Ben Prescott (44) completed a tight grouping for Greylock.
"In a year where everything was unkown, we had excellent leadership from our captain, Ben Prescott," said Spooner of the Mounties' only graduating senior.
Both county co-titlists are young, and, in Dalton, coach Peter Terpak said the future is looking bright.
"For me to have two freshmen and an eighth-grader in my top four down here is very encouraging," Terpak said. "I didn't know what to think when the season started, what we were going to get out of it. But our team has taken tremendous strides foreward, and Patrick [McLaughlin] is going to be leading us for the next three-plus years. He's a tremendous kid who has worked really hard from when he was an eighth-grader to now."
McLaughlin won Saturday with consistency. He said there really were not any holes that stood out.
"I was getting a lot of close putts for par, which were really saving me," he said. "Some shots were going off the green. I wasn't on in regulation, but I was able to get up and down."
Finishing just behind Mount Greylock and Wahconah in third place were Danyluck and the the host Spartans, five strokes back at 175. Ben Ryel tied Axt and Lee's Lucas Bombadier for third at 41.
Cooper Rothvoss (44) cracked the top 10 for Mount Everett, tying for ninth.
In addition to seeing another down-to-the-wire battle between the eventual co-champs, the championship tourney was a fitting end to the season for one other reason: the venue.
The Berkshire County golf community is still mourning the loss of Wyantenuck pro Thomas "Sully" Sullivan, who died in a thunderstorm while working at the club earlier this month.
Among the golfers whose lives he touched were Wahconah's McLaughlin and teammate Kristina Cusson; both made the trip to South County to study with the respected teaching pro, Terpak said.
It was important for Wahconah's players to honor Sullivan on Saturday.
"We had an opportunity to play in [Saturday's] Greenfield Western Mass tournament, which was 18 holes," Terpak said. "And we opted to make sure to come down here and represent 'Sully,' and we did the ribbons. If we could pull this off, it would mean a lot to Pat for 'Sully,' for sure.
"Kristina and Patrick were pretty devastated for two or three days. And it's been pretty quiet. There's a calm here. Losing a guy like that, with such a stature in the golf community, it's tough for everybody."
1. Mount Greylock, 170 pts; 1. Wahconah, 170; 3. Monument Mountain. 175; 4. Mount Everett, 199; 4. Lee, 199.
1. Patrick McLaughlin (W) 37; 2. Brad Danyluck (MM) 39; 3. Ben Ryel (MM) 41; 3. Xander Axt (MG) 41; 3. Lucas Bombadier (Lee) 41; 6. Owen Petropolus (MG) 42; 7. Dan Wilson (W) 43; 7. Cayden Conry (MG) 43; 9. Cooper Rothvoss (ME) 44; 9. Ben Prescott (MG) 44; 11. Tim Kaley (W) 45; 11. Brady Breitmaier (W) 45; 13. Calen Hoff (MM) 47; 14. Andrew Churchill (MM) 47; 15. Jack Seward-Daley (ME) 49; 15. Colin Durken (Lee) 49; 17. Kolby Bleau (ME) 51; 17. Camden Redstone (Lee) 51; 19. Kai LaRose (ME) 55; 20. Kyle Benzie (Lee) 58.