Hopkins Academy places 12th at state Division 3 golf tournament
Hopkins Academy senior Austin Brighenti watches his tee shot on the sixth hole at Hickory Ridge Golf Course in Amherst during the Western Mass Div. 3 Tournament on Monday. KEVIN GUTTING Purchase photo reprints »
For the first time all season Monday, the Hopkins Academy golf team left the course without a victory.
But the state Division 3 tournament still proved a positive experience for the western Massachusetts champions.
The Golden Hawks posted a score of 343 to place 12th at Wyantenuck Country Club in Great Barrington.
“We went undefeated during the season, won western Mass. and we had fun at states,” Hopkins coach Rick Berger said. “We talked about a lot of different things going into states, but the main thing I told them was that we get to represent western Mass. That didn’t mean we had to win. For the second straight week, we had nobody over 100, so we feel we represented well.”
Spencer Butterfield shot a 79 for the second consecutive Monday after leading the Golden Hawks to the sectional team title last week. The sophomore finished tied for 14th among players eligible for the state individual championship.
After posting a triple bogey on the first hole, Butterfield responded with six consecutive pars and made the turn at 40. He then shot 39 on the back nine to achieve his goal for the day.
“Going into states I wanted to shoot under 80 again, which is what I was able to do,” Butterfield said. “The greens were a lot harder than I’m used to, so I had to adjust. But once I got the hang of them, I played well.”
Curtis Bourque of Douglas outlasted three other golfers to take the individual title on the fourth playoff hole. All four shot a 2-over-par 72 over the regulation 18 holes.
Weston took home the state team title with a score of 301.
Hopkins junior Joe Yusko just missed matching Butterfield by firing an 80. He responded nicely one week after shooting 99 at sectionals.
“It was good for him after a rough round at western Mass.,” Butterfield said. “We’re looking forward to leading the squad next year. We know we’ll have to play like we did this year and probably better.”
Berger said, “The future looks bright for those two guys. That’s back-to-back 79s for Spencer, who’s only scratching the surface of his potential. And Joe ended the season very strong, just the way he started it.”
Seniors Andrew Omer and Austin Brighenti, as well as freshman Caleb Farnham all carded 92s. Senior DJ Gardiner finished with a 95.
“We can’t be unhappy at all,” Butterfield said. “We accomplished all we wanted to, and states would have been icing on the cake.”
Sectional individual champion Nate Patterson shot an 81 at Blackstone National Golf Club in Sutton.
“I had an all-right day,” Patterson said. “There was a lot of wind so the ball got held up and I needed to choose longer clubs than I’m used to playing. I wasn’t expecting much (Monday), but I thought I’d shoot a little better.”
Patterson, who’s only a sophomore, made six straight birdies last Monday to win the western Massachusetts tournament. But he sees room to grow over the next two years.
“I want to improve on hitting my driver a little better next year, which is something that can take my game to the next level,” he said.
The sectional runner-up Red Hawks came in ninth at 352. Senior Torsten Nelson (87), senior Ben Ruddock (91) and sophomore Alex Smiarowski (93) also scored. Senior Dan Persons and sophomore Cam Blair each posted 101.
“Our kids didn’t play all that well overall,” Frontier coach Steve Sakowicz said. “The conditions weren’t great, but you have to expect that at this time of year.”
South Hadley junior Joe Ciolek tied for 15th with a round of 80 at Black Swan Country Club in Georgetown.
He shot a 36 on the front nine and a 44 on the back.
“I guess he had a couple tough holes on the back, but overall he played really well,” Tigers coach Jim Gavron said. “I figured he’d have a good round, and I’m extremely proud of Joe’s performance.”
Northampton senior Austin McCreary shot 90 on Monday.
“He was pretty upset with his round,” coach Jim Casagrande said. “He seemed to get off to a rough start and started pressing a little bit. In golf you have ups and downs, you can’t always be on your A-game.”
McCreary averaged a 37 over the course of the season with 12 rounds under 40.
“Austin’s had a fantastic season and a fantastic career,” Casagrande said. “He’ one of the best players in western Mass. regardless of one round of golf.”
Michael Wilkinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.