Northampton’s Reilly Fowles qualifies for state tournament after 7th-place finish at Western Massachusetts Division 1 Golf Championships (PHOTOS)

Belchertown’s Henry Poissant takes his second shot on the 18th hole at Westover Municipal Golf Course in the Western Mass. Division 1 Golf Championships on Monday afternoon.

Belchertown’s Henry Poissant takes his second shot on the 18th hole at Westover Municipal Golf Course in the Western Mass. Division 1 Golf Championships on Monday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Belchertown’s Michael Murray chips onto the 18th green at Westover Municipal Golf Course in the Western Mass. Division 1 Golf Championships on Monday afternoon.

Belchertown’s Michael Murray chips onto the 18th green at Westover Municipal Golf Course in the Western Mass. Division 1 Golf Championships on Monday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Northampton’s Gus Fallon fist pumps after rolling in a long putt at Westover Municipal Golf Course in the Western Mass. Division 1 Golf Championships on Monday afternoon.

Northampton’s Gus Fallon fist pumps after rolling in a long putt at Westover Municipal Golf Course in the Western Mass. Division 1 Golf Championships on Monday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

Northampton’s Galen Fowles takes his approach shot into the 14th green at Westover Municipal Golf Course in the Western Mass. Division 1 Golf Championships on Monday afternoon.

Northampton’s Galen Fowles takes his approach shot into the 14th green at Westover Municipal Golf Course in the Western Mass. Division 1 Golf Championships on Monday afternoon. STAFF PHOTO/GARRETT COTE

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writers

Published: 10-23-2023 9:00 PM

GRANBY — Northampton’s Reilly Fowles walked to the tee box on his 17th hole of the day sitting at two-over par. Fowles was in great shape to not only qualify for the state tournament next week, but finish Monday afternoon’s Western Mass. Division 1 Championship at Westover Municipal Golf Course as the medalist.

He struggled over the final two holes and ended up finishing five-over par to turn in a team-best 79. After all scores were tallied, Fowles found out he shot the seventh-best individual round on the day, which awarded him with a trip to Hampden next week for the state championship at GreatHorse.

Aside from his putting stroke, the junior thought he played quality golf on Monday.

“It felt like a solid round today except for on the greens,” Fowles said. “I had probably five lip-outs. It was brutal. I was two-over coming into the last two holes, and, you know, stuff happens.”

While Fowles will have another opportunity to compete this season, his teammates will not.

Northampton finished 16-0 in the regular season and were front runners to punch one of two team tickets to states. Belchertown was the only other Hampshire County school participating in the Division 1 tourney, and the Orioles edged out the Blue Devils for fourth place by one stroke. Longmeadow (325), Wachusett (331), and Minnechaug (331) compiled the top three scores with Belchertown (332) and Northampton (333) right behind them.

“I think my game feels solid right now, so I’m just gonna keep in touch with it and try to go as low as I can at states,” Fowles said. “I’m definitely happy, but I would’ve rather gone with my team than individually.”

Belchertown got an 80 from senior Cal Orzech, an 81 from Michael Murray, Henry Poissant turned in an 85, and Jared Haynes shot an 86. Being only one shot off a potential three-way tie for second stung Orioles head coach Matt Stenuis knowing his team left several shots out on the course.

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“I thought we had as good a chance as anybody,” Stenuis said. “High school golf always comes down to putting, and we had one too many three-putts. Each of our top four scorers had at least one three-putt. That would’ve been four shots better right there, but hey, live and learn. You can’t three-putt in high school golf. But it was a team event, and as a team we were right in the mix, and that’s all you can ask for.”

The Blue Devils, led by head coach Bob Boulrice, didn’t take their finish lightly. Senior Galen Fowles has been nothing short of spectacular for Northampton throughout his entire career, and his 57-2 team record as a Blue Devil eludes to that. Fowles turned in a score of 80, finishing just one shot off the top seven.

“As hurt as I am for Galen and the team, he’s suffering even more,” Boulrice said. “Since Galen joined the Northampton Blue Devils, he is fundamentally responsible for the success that we’ve had. For he to feel badly today that the team missed out by two strokes, that’s not his burden to carry. We all share it. He’s been a spectacular captain, he’s gonna go on to wonderful things at the University of Rochester and beyond.”

Orzech joined Galen with an 80, good for a team-low round to lead the Orioles. Orzech originally started out as a soccer player at Belchertown but made the switch to golf. The senior showed out in his final high school competition. Poissant will also leave a hole in the program, as this year’s Connecticut PGA Jack Kelly Sportsmanship Award winner was a strong contributor for four years. Chris Wood and Tyler Marino are the other two seniors for the 12-3 Orioles, all of which have made an impact in their own way.

“We had a great record, we have great kids and everybody was dedicated to getting better,” Stenuis said. “They represented themselves, the school, and the community better than most clubs, and every time we go to a course, our guys go in, thank the course for allowing us to play, and every pro and course is very appreciative. It’s a gentlemen’s game and we are all gentlemen.”

Jack Carpenter shot 86 for the Blue Devils while teammates Ben O’Connor (90) and Gus Fallon (94) were also in the top 50 individually.

Despite the heartbreak for Northampton, the Blue Devils still had an unforgettable season under Boulrice — a first-year head coach. They won a league title and finished the year with no losses, including some tight matches with Belchertown and Longmeadow, two teams that finished in the top four on Monday.

“It’s a disappointing day, for sure, but it doesn’t detract from a spectacular season,” Boulrice said. “My guys came through and I’m so proud of them for the last week of the season. We had Belchertown, Longmeadow, and Belchertown again and we won all three matches — all very close. [To go] 16-0 for the season is quite an accomplishment, and that’s what I’m going to remember.”

For Reilly, playing alongside Galen — his brother and best friend — for three years was the best part of his high school experience to this point. 

“It’s been amazing, and we always love playing together and getting to be the one and two on our team for three years — four years for Galen,” Fowles said. “It’s just been a great experience. It’s really been a blast.”

Div. 2 Championship

AGAWAM — Scoring was hard to come by at Crestview Country Club on Monday for the Western Mass. Div. 2 golf championship. 

Just about all 11 teams who competed struggled to put up numbers on the wet course. It was Wahconah that ran away with a victory after a team total of 312, with Pope Francis taking second (334) and Tantasqua placing third (349). 

Wahconah’s Tim Kaley (73) and Patrick McLaughlin (76) were the lone team players to break 80 on the day, with Kaley finishing as the overall winner. Colin Majowicz, competing as an individual for St. Bernard’s, shot a 77 while Leominster’s Daniel Simons, also competing as an individual, shot a 78. 

South Hadley placed fifth (360), Hampshire earned seventh (368) while Greenfield came in 10th (386). Frontier’s Ryan Cetto, who qualified as an individual, shot a 93. 

South Hadley’s Ryan MacGregor paced his squad by shooting an 81. Caiden Drohan (86), Matthew Blaser (95) and John Viola (98) had their scores count for South Hadley while Jack Maziarz (100) and Bennett Allen (106) also competed. 

“It didn’t go great,” MacGregor said. “I hit the ball as well as I could. I just couldn’t putt today. The greens were fast. They just cut them so they were running quick.” 

Count MacGregor as one of the many participants who were psyched to compete against the best Western Mass. had to offer, but felt like the round didn’t go their way. 

“I love big tournaments like this,” MacGregor said. “I’m hoping it could hold up for states. If it doesn’t I get it. It was a rough day out there.” 

Freshman Brayden Fennessy was the top finisher on the Raiders, carding an 86. 

“The course played tough today,” Fennessey said. “We battled it out. All in all, it was pretty fun. The team played pretty well. We had some high scores but it was pretty tough out there. It was fun competing in this.” 

Pryden Messier (93), Camden Jarosz (93) and Riley Florek (96) rounded out the Hampshire scorers, with Owen Lech (99) and Cole Boissonneault (101) also competing on the day. 

Without a team of Redhawks there with him, Cetto was competing as an individual. He went down to Crestview for a practice round last Thursday and walked away confident afterward. 

Unfortunately for him, the course played much different on Monday. 

“It was rough out there,” Cetto said. “If you lost a ball a couple yards right or left you couldn’t find it in the leaves. I did a practice round here on Thursday and felt confident during that. It didn’t transfer over today. It’s a really nice course and I really like the layout. It was just wet which made it tough.” 

Still, Cetto said he enjoyed getting to see and compete against many of the golfers he faced during the season. 

“It’s always fun to get a day off from school, see some of my friends and play,” Cetto said.