Northampton’s Galen and Reilly Fowles fire 10-under 62, roll to PVIAC Two-Ball Invitational championship

  • Left to right: Derek Fowles, Galen Fowles, Reilly Fowles, and Bob Boulrice pose with the PVIAC Two-Ball Invitational first-place trophy at Veterans Memorial Golf Course on Monday afternoon. Galen and Reilly claimed their second straight PVIAC crown with a 10-under 62. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

  • Liam Flynn (left) and James Burke (right) of Hopkins Academy lining up a putt on the sixth-hole green. Flynn and Burke combined for an 87 in the PVIAC Two-Ball Invitational at Veterans Memorial Golf Course on Monday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer
Published: 10/2/2023 5:53:31 PM
Modified: 10/2/2023 5:52:32 PM

SPRINGFIELD — For the second consecutive year, the Northampton sibling duo of Galen and Reilly Fowles captured the PVIAC Two-Ball Golf Invitational championship.

After shooting a 66 at Chicopee Country Club in 2022, the Fowles brothers turned in a magnificent score of 10-under par (62) at Veterans Memorial Golf Course on Monday afternoon.

Pope Francis’ Michael McGrath and Jake Dias shot 4-under 68 to finish in second place, followed by Minnechaug’s Owen Goldberg and Ali Awkal with a 70.

Belchertown’s Henry Poissant and Michael Murray (73), Frontier’s Ryan Cetto and Cam Skiffington (75), and Hampshire’s Owen Lech and Brayden Fennessey (76) were the area’s next lowest-scoring teams.

With Galen in his senior year at Northampton, Monday marked the final time that he and Reilly, a junior, will compete alongside one another in a high school tournament. The two-ball format of the PVIAC tournament allows them to play as partners, though they’ll be part of the team format if the Blue Devils compete at sectional or state tournaments later this month.

Galen valued walking the links with his younger brother one last time in a Northampton uniform, and a 10-under finish made the moment that much better.

“It’s a really great way to finish,” Galen said. “I look forward to this tournament every year just because I get to play best ball with Reilly. And to have us shoot a really insane number the final time and just go on a high note, it’s really amazing… We haven’t gotten to play much together over the last couple of years, and every time we can it’s a lot of fun.”

The Fowles brothers started off on a tear, birdying six of their first nine holes to make the turn with a score of 30. They didn’t stop there, as the energy from the front nine carried over to the back. Four more birdies poured in to send them in with a 32.

“It got off to a pretty fast start, and we both traded birdies early in our first nine,” Galen said. “Putts were rolling in and we kept the momentum going throughout the whole day.”

In a two-ball format, each participant plays their own ball and the best score at the end of the hole is taken. They didn’t bogey a single hole, and did a perfect job of picking one another up when the other found trouble on the course.

“It’s super important in this format,” Reilly said. “I was having bad holes when he was having good holes, and it was so helpful because he’d birdie when I’d hit one in the woods or something went wrong.”

Both brothers agreed that putting was the strength of their game on Monday. It seemed that every time they stood over a putt it was going to roll in.

“Both of us definitely putt really well today,” Galen said. “We made almost everything we looked at, and it was, it was just pretty amazing.”

Blue Devils head coach Bob Boulrice was designated as a marshall for one of the holes, so he was unable to witness the stellar play of his duo. But Boulrice was receiving updates from their father Derek Fowles and was thrilled to hear the results. The only thing that upset him was not being able to see it for himself.

“I was in constant communication with their family scorekeeper,” Boulrice said. “(Hearing how well they were doing) made me angry that I wasn’t watching it. Angry might be too strong a word – I was disappointed I wasn’t watching it.”

Although Boulrice is in his first year as head coach with Northampton, he has been in the mix as an assistant and knows plenty of what Galen and Reilly mean to the program. Since the two brothers joined the team, the Blue Devils have done nothing but win. Northampton is 48-2 with Galen on the roster, and 39-1 with Reilly, and they helped the program win a Western Mass. title in 2021.

“It’s hard to put it into words,” Boulrice said. “It’s a three-year run now of success that’s unparalleled in Northampton golf history. We have one more year of Reilly, and I’m hoping that a bunch of freshmen are taking note of what these guys are doing and will come try out next year.”

Northampton heads into Tuesday’s match with Amherst just one win shy of qualifying for the Western Mass. tournament. A lot of the golf courses the Blue Devils have played this season are shorter, more traditional layouts. Western Mass. will be played at Westover Golf Course, which plays over 7,000 yards for 18 holes. Boulrice’s plan is to get Galen, Reilly, and the rest of his team ready for the longer, more difficult challenge that Westover provides.

“We need to win [Tuesday’s] match, and that will qualify us for Western Mass.,” Boulrice said. “Western Mass. is at Westover this year, so we’re going to be visiting that course on weekends upcoming. And then we wanna qualify for states. We need to stretch out a little bit, so that’s what we’re gonna be doing in upcoming weeks.”

Monday afternoon took the Fowles brothers back down memory lane to when they were growing up playing youth tournaments. The two thought of it as one of those events and tried to enjoy it as much as possible – and it’s certainly safe to say it paid off.

“It’s so much fun,” Reilly said. “We grew up playing a lot of events together, so it just takes me back to those tournaments… I was not expecting to go this low today, but I’ll take it.”

When asked if he’s going to miss his brother next year, he simply answered: “Definitely.”

Boulrice had one message for Galen and Reilly following their unbelievable showing.

“I just hope they have more birdies in them, because we have more tournaments to play in coming up,” Boulrice joked.

South Hadley’s McMahon 7th at WMass girls championship

Riley McMahon turned in a solid 45-43 for an overall 88 at the Western Mass. girls championship at Veterans Memorial Golf Course on Monday afternoon. That number put her seventh overall in the event.

The freshman has had an impressive season for the Tigers, and her consistent performance on the big stage was just her latest example. McMahon didn’t shoot more than a six on any hole, and had three pars on the day.

Easthampton’s Amelia Gruber caught a groove on her back nine on her way to shooting a 96, the second-best Hampshire County score posted in the tournament.


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