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Matt Iczkowski second at PVIAC Golf Invitational

  • 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.<br/><br/> (Gazette file photo)

    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 »

  • Django Ellenhorn of Amherst Regional chips the ball during the PVIAC Boys Invitational Golf Tournament Monday afternoon at Cold Springs Country Club in Belchertown.<br/>CAROL LOLLIS

    Django Ellenhorn of Amherst Regional chips the ball during the PVIAC Boys Invitational Golf Tournament Monday afternoon at Cold Springs Country Club in Belchertown.
    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/>Sean Ryan of Chesterfield  during the PVIAV Boys Invitational Golf Tournament Monday afternoon in Belchertown.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS


    Sean Ryan of Chesterfield during the PVIAV Boys Invitational Golf Tournament Monday afternoon in Belchertown.

    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Matt Iczkowski of Granby watches his putt during the PVIAC Boys Invitational Golf Tournament Monday afternoon at Cold Springs Country Club in Belchertown. Iczkowski placed second.<br/>CAROL LOLLIS

    Matt Iczkowski of Granby watches his putt during the PVIAC Boys Invitational Golf Tournament Monday afternoon at Cold Springs Country Club in Belchertown. Iczkowski placed second.
    CAROL LOLLIS Purchase photo reprints »

  • 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.<br/><br/> (Gazette file photo)
  • Django Ellenhorn of Amherst Regional chips the ball during the PVIAC Boys Invitational Golf Tournament Monday afternoon at Cold Springs Country Club in Belchertown.<br/>CAROL LOLLIS
  • <br/>Sean Ryan of Chesterfield  during the PVIAV Boys Invitational Golf Tournament Monday afternoon in Belchertown.<br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS
  • Matt Iczkowski of Granby watches his putt during the PVIAC Boys Invitational Golf Tournament Monday afternoon at Cold Springs Country Club in Belchertown. Iczkowski placed second.<br/>CAROL LOLLIS

BELCHERTOWN — Matt Iczkowski may have come up a stroke short of adding another title to his high school golf resume Monday afternoon.

The Holyoke Catholic senior who plays for Granby recovered from a difficult start to his round to finish with a 4-over-par 75 at the inaugural Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference Boys Invitational Tournament at Cold Spring Country Club.

It was the first high school event of the season to cover 18 holes instead of the customary nine.

“It’s definitely a change of pace from a nine-hole situation, and it helped me,” Iczkowski said. “Because if you start off rough like I did, you still have time to recover and put a solid round together.”

Troy Miller of Franklin Tech birdied five holes and carded a 74 to earn the title. Matt Fontaine of East Longmeadow also fired a 75 to tie Iczkowski for second.

The tournament had no qualifying standards and included up to two players from teams in all divisions.

Iczkowski found himself 2 over after double bogeying the par-4 first hole. A pair of bogeys on the second and fourth holes presented him with quite a challenge.

“A four putt on the first green set him back right off the bat, so to stay even to finish at 4-over is pretty impressive on this course,” Granby coach Tom Burke said. “But he hung in there, which is what makes him so good.”

He immediately regained a shot with a birdie on the par-4 fifth, then birdied the par-3 eighth to make the turn at 2-over. After three bogeys on the first six holes of the back nine, Iczkowski got back to 4-over with a birdie on the 16th.

“I started off rocky with that four-putt, then had an errant tee shot that led to a bogey,” Iczkowski said. “Those two birdies on the front were huge to get back to 2-over. I had a couple unfortunate bogeys early in the back, but I was able to hold it together coming in. So it was a pretty good round in the end.”

The cool, overcast afternoon had some effect on the players’ scores, but the weather didn’t pose a huge problem for Iczkowski.

“It was pretty windy until about the midpoint of the round,” he said. “The wind died down a bit at the end, so it turned into a fair day to play.”

Iczkowski and Granby coach Tom Burke both admitted the player had a bit of an advantage in that Cold Spring is the home course for the Rams. The par-71 course opened earlier this year, with Granby and Belchertown playing their home matches there.

“This course is tricky to get used to, it has a lot of hills and bumps,” Iczkowski said. “As long as you can be accurate with your shots, it becomes much easier to handle. It was definitely an advantage to have it here, but a tournament setting is a lot different than a normal practice or high school match.”

Said Burke, “Even though this is our home course, we don’t get onto the back very often. He knows the front, which is very tough regardless.”

Iczkowski and the Rams will seek to defend their sectional titles on Oct. 22 at the Division 2 tournament.

“It’s great to go into western Mass. with a guy like Matt at the top, who can shoot in the 70s,” Burke said. “Matt plays a lot of 18-hole tournaments even during the season, so he’s tournament-tough. Playing a full 18 doesn’t affect him the way it might some other kids.”

Iczkowski, a Southwick resident, won the 2011 western Mass. individual crown by four strokes with a 2-over 73 at Franconia in Springfield

The PVIAC tournament Monday “certainly helps me prepare for western Mass.,” Iczkowski said. “Usually the courses I play in junior tournaments are longer, so playing a shorter course (Monday) will get me ready for that. This tournament showed me I need to be a little more consistent throughout the round if I want to have a chance to win western Mass. again.”

OTHER LOCALS — The next-best local finisher was Steve Bruscoe of Smith Academy, who shot an 86 to place 17th overall. Every other local participant finished with a 90 or higher, including Bruscoe’s teammate Mike Molloy (90) in 21st.

Shane Hollenbeck (91) of Granby tied three others for 22nd place.

Tom Dowd of South Hadley and Easthampton’s Austin Crow each shot a 92 to finish tied for 25th.

Kevin Garbacik of South Hadley and Sean Ryan of Hampshire Regional tied for 28th with 93s.

Carl Teschke of Belchertown was 31st after a 94.

John Noonan of Amherst Regional, Jake Conroy of Frontier Regional and Hopkins Academy’s Andrew Omer all carded a 95 to tie for 32nd.

Theo Viola (96) and Jeff Bond (97), both of Northampton, finished tied for 39th and tied for 41st, respectively. Nate Patterson of Frontier Regional also had a 97.

Belchertown’s Marcel Pereira had a 98 and placed 44th. Jake Antosz (101, tied for 48th) of Hampshire Regional and Bradlee Nadeau (117, tied for 57th) of Easthampton also participated.

Django Ellenhorn of Amherst and Austin Brighenti of Hopkins did not finish.

Michael Wilkinson can be reached at mwilkinson@gazettenet.com.

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