Matt Iczkowski repeats as golf champion, Granby second
Matt Iczkowski of Granby on Monday repeated as the individual champion in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Golf Tournament. He is seen here competing in the PVIAC Boys Invitational Golf Tournament on Oct. 8 in Belchertown. (Gazette file photo) Purchase photo reprints »
STOCKBRIDGE — Showing he could be as cool as the wind which blew steadily from the northwest all day, Matt Iczkowski calmly recovered from an early triple bogey to repeat as the individual champion in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Golf Tournament.
His 3-over-par 74 at Stockbridge Golf Club Monday, edged Hoosac’s Chad Alibozek by one stroke.
Zach Adams of Mahar, who handed Iczkowski his only loss this season last week, finished third with an 83.
As for Iczkowski’s Granby team, it fell just short of repeating in the team competition by losing a tiebreaker to Palmer. While both Granby and Palmer’s four best golfers scored 351, Palmer took the title by virtue of a better fifth score.
“It doesn’t get any closer than that,” Granby coach Tom Burke said. “I knew Palmer would be the team to beat. They have a very consistent lineup from top to bottom.”
Iczkowski, who started on the fourth hole in the shotgun format, made a fairly routine par to start his round. His second hole, the 107-yard par-3 fifth, was anything but routine. He left his tee shot short into a greenside bunker. His attempt to get out of the hazard hit the lip and rolled back to his feet while his next was pulled left.
“It’s a tough way to begin,” Iczkowski said. “But I’ve been in situations like that before. I just had to be calm and realize there were still 16 holes left to play.”
Rather than allow his round to be defined by his early troubles, the Holyoke Catholic senior and Southwick resident righted himself and was a mark of consistency the rest of the way. In fact, he played the other 17 holes in even par, including birdies at 15 and 17.
His resolve was made clear when after his troubled fifth, he strung together six consecutive pars in the adverse wind conditions. Among the highlights of his round was a up-and-down par save at the long and difficult 13th after a bogey at 12.
“I was hitting the ball well all day so there was never any reason not to feel positive,” Iczkowski said.
Adding to Granby’s accomplishment was that none of its players had seen the Stockbridge Golf Club course before a practice round on Thursday. Rain at this 117-year-old venue made the course soft, which made the course play longer. While the greens were receptive, drives gained little roll.
Among the local schools that competed, Hampshire Regional finished fourth with a 369 total, Frontier Regional was sixth at 378, while Belchertown finished up at 418. In addition to Iczkowski’s 74, Granby’s team score included Shane Hollenbeck at 89, Max Humphrey at 92 and Ben Modzelesky, 96.
“I was happy with the whole team, they all played well,” Burke said. “It was a good team effort all the way around.”
Hampshire was led by Rob Carmel (88) and Jake Antosz (92). Jacob Conroy’s 86 led Frontier, while Carl Teschke’s 95 was best for Belchertown.
“I’m thrilled we were able to come as close as we did,” Burke said. “We lose a couple of seniors (Iczkowski and Katy McLaflin) but I like who we’ll have coming back next season.”
Iczkowski next competes in the state tournament in Lynn.