Wahconah Dominates at D2 Western Mass Tourney

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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AGAWAM, Mass. – Add another banner for the Wahconah golf team.
This was the one it really wanted.
Tim Kaley earned medalist honors Monday to lead four Wahconah players in the top nine in a dominating team win at the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Championships at Crestview Country Club.
“This was the goal from the start,” Kaley said. “We’ve been talking about this goal for five, six years now. So we’re like, ‘We’ve just got to show up. This is our year.’
“This is when we’ve got the seniors. Everyone’s kind of peaking at the right time. We need to put up a good score finally.”
Wahconah this fall won a second straight Berkshire County league title, sharing the honors with Mount Greylock. Kaley and Pat McLaughlin have won the last two Berkshire Classic individual titles.
Last fall, Wahconah went undefeated through the county league match play schedule but was a disappointing fifth in the sectional tourney at the Ranch Golf Club in Southwick.
On Monday, Wahconah ran away with the team title, finishing 22 strokes ahead of runner-up Pope Francis.
McLaughlin was second only to his teammate and classmate Kaley, carding a 76 on a day when just four golfers finished in the 70s.
Sam McLaughlin finished at 81 and tied for sixth in the 72-player field. Brady Breitmaier rounded out Wahconah’s scoring with an 82 that was good for a ninth-place tie.
“It’s the depth,” Wahconah coach Pete Terpak said. “It’s Sammy’s 81 and Brady’s 82. We’ve got horses who can throw it in the low 70s, but you need guys around 80.
“This team worked harder than any team I’ve had on the short game for two weeks, since the Classic at Stockbridge. They bought into it. We said, ‘We don’t know how it will be in the morning, we’ll have a brief warm up to try to simulate what it may be during Crestview. Play a quick nine holes and let’s start doing short game.’
“And every guy bought into that, chipping and putting for an hour, two hours after practice. Every single guy did it. And that’s what it comes down to.”
Wahconah, Pope Francis and third-place Tantasqua punched tickets for the D2 State Championships at Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton on Oct. 30.
Mount Greylock finished just out of a spot at the state tourney with a team score of 353 that was four strokes behind Tantasqua. Jacob Hillman, Ben Dingman and Owen Petropulos led the Mounties, each finishing at 87 and tying for 21st in the field.
Kaley, who started Monday on the ninth hole in the shotgun format, birdied four holes.
One came right in the middle of his round on the par-4 18th, which tripped up a number of golfers with its slope that punished putts from above that went just past the cup.
“I doubled the 17th hole, so I was mad about that,” Kaley said. “And then I birdied 18. I’m thinking that’s the hardest hole here, especially with that pin. It’s a rough pin today.
“I was like, ‘Just throw it up.’ The wind’s blowing to my left. Throw it up to the right side of the green, and it’s going to come back and probably even spin farther left.
“I had like 125, so I just hit a nice full gap wedge. It’s my 130 club. I played it a little bit uphill, and it ended up being really good.”
Kaley also birdied the par-4 fourth, par-5 seventh and par-3 11th.
McLaughlin was a little disappointed with his score, but he was not the only player shaking his head as they walked into the clubhouse to turn in their scorecard on Monday.
“It was tough,” he said of the conditions. “You hit a good shot, and maybe it just barely trickles into the rough, and it was really hard to find it. Luckily, we were playing the ball up, but some of those shots, you’d be buried in the rough, and it’d tough to find the ball.
“The greens were very fast. I three-putted way too much out here, and i didn’t make any puts that I would have made on a normal day, I think.”
Even though the conditions were unlike anything Wahconah saw in its practice rounds at Crestview, multiple trips south to see the layout paid off on Monday, McLaughlin said.
“We probably played this course two or three times, so we got enough experience out here to get a feel for it,” he said. “It definitely helped. Just coming down here and knowing what to hit off the tees and stuff.
“We already knew there are so many leaves around here. So whenever you hit a bad shot, you can’t get angry and look around. You’ve got to watch your ball the whole time. Just sticking with it the whole time, we knew that was going to pull out the ‘W.’ “
Team scores
1. Wahconah (312) Tim Kaley 73; Patrick McLaughlin, 76; Sam McLaughlin, 81; Brady Breitmaier 82; Carter Drake 87; Vincent Scalise 87.
2. Pope Francis (334)
3. Tantasqua (349)
4. Mount Greylock (353) Jacob Hillman 87; Ben Dingman 87; Owen Petropulos 87; Thomas Art 92; Max Easton 100; Will Svrluga 107.
5. South Hadley (360)
6. Quaboag (361)
7. Hampshire (368)
8. Westfield Tech (377)
9. Quabbin (385)
10 Greenfield (398)
11. Leicester (429)
Top 10 Individuals
1. Tim Kaley, W, 73; 2. Patrick McLaughlin, W, 76; 3. Colin Majowicz, St. Bernard’s, 77; 4. Daniel Simons, Leominster, 78; 5. Sam Piecynski, Tantasqua, 80; t-6 Ryan McGregor, South Hadley, 81; t-6. Zach Buffone, Pope Francis, 81; t-6. Sam McLaughlin, W, 81; T-9 Michael McGrath, Pope Francis, 82; t-9. Brady Brreitmaier, W, 82; t-9. Dan O’Connor, Westfield Tech, 82.
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