Div. 1 Golf: Northampton wins first WMass title since 1956

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  • Northampton sophomore Galen Fowles chips onto the 10th green at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton sophomore Reilly Fowles takes a chip shot over the bunker and onto the 15th green at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton senior Evan Yurko chips onto the 14th green at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton sophomore Jack Gulotta watches his chip shot settle within a foot of the pin on the 13th hole at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton sophomore Ben O'Connor takes his approach shot on the seventh hole at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. His chip shot fell short, rolling back into a sandtrap. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton senior Camille Richmond follows her drive on the par-3 11th hole at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton sophomore Galen Fowles tees off on the 18th hole at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. Fowles' four-some included, from right, Mathew Kumpulanian of Minnechaug, Ryan Downes of Longmeadow and Mitchell Bullett of Wachusett. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton sophomore Reilly Fowles watches his tee shot on the par-3 16th hole at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton senior Camille Richmond sinks a six-foot putt on the 10th hole at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton sophomore Galen Fowles watches his drive on the par-4 17th hole at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Northampton sophomore Ben O'Connor watches his drive off the eighth tee at Tekoa Country Club in Westfield during the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Championship on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 10/18/2021 4:18:22 PM

WESTFIELD — For the first time since 1956, Northampton stood alone the golfing landscape on Monday.

The Blue Devils, who went undefeated during the regular season en route to a Suburban League East title, edged runner-up Wachusett by one stroke and third-place Minnechaug by two shots to snag the program’s first team title in 65 years at the Western Mass. Division 1 Golf Championships at Tekoa Country Club.

“We wanted to give ourselves a chance to win,” offered Northampton sophomore Galen Fowles. “We were all pretty nervous, we didn’t really know what to expect. But I guess we should’ve had more confidence that we’d be able to post really good numbers as a team. We showed we could do that.”

Reilly Fowles set the tone for the Blue Devils, as the freshman fired a 1-over-par 72. Galen Fowles followed with a 76, while Evan Yurko (80) and Jack Mattison-Gulotta (86) were the other two Northampton golfers to figure into the team total of 314. Ben O’Connor (93) and Camille Richmond (96) rounded out the six-member roster.

Wachusett had two players shoot 74 and ultimately carded a team total of 315, while Minnechaug was third at 316. Longmeadow, which boasted individual champion Ryan Downes (70), took fourth place with a total of 319.

The top three teams advanced to next Monday’s MIAA Division 1 championship, which will be played at Wentworth Hills Country Club in Plainville.

“It’s amazing to watch these kids come together as a team,” Northampton coach Mike Chapdelaine said. “We have two rock solid golfers in the Fowles brothers. They’re the ones that got us to 17-0 in large part, but they’ve also brought the team along with them. They’ve helped to develop our team. They’re as much coaches as I am.”

Reilly Fowles had a steady round, hitting his share of greens in regulation en route to the 72.

“I was having one of my boring rounds. I hit a lot of greens in regulation and then two-putted,” he explained. “I wasn’t driving it super consistently, I could’ve gone lower, but I had a lot of good aspects to my round.

“This is a really special team,” he continued. “We’re very deep, everyone puts in a lot of work. We’re young, too. We’ll be around for a couple years with the players we have now which is nice. We always have a blast.”

While Northampton was the lone local team to punch their ticket for Monday’s championship, Amherst’s Piet Hartman qualified as an individual and made his mark at Tekoa. Hartman shot 75, earning a spot in next week’s state tournament.

“I had a lot of birdie opportunities but I didn’t putt as well as I would’ve liked,” Hartman said. “I left a lot of shots out there but I was able to scramble pretty well and do enough. That was one of my goals, to qualify for the state tournament. I’m happy to get there.”

Galen Fowles had hoped to challenge Downes for the individual title. The two played in the same pairing, and while his 76 wasn’t what he set out to shoot when the morning kicked off, he said the team victory more than made up for it.

“My round was not great,” he admitted. “I hit the ball really badly. There were definitely opportunities on the course but I wasn’t able to take advantage of them. But that’s the beauty of team golf. You can have your teammates back you up.”

The addition of Central Mass. schools like Wachusett, Auburn, Doherty and North Middlesex into the Division 1 mix provided a bit of unknown to start the day. Chapdelaine said he felt confident in Northampton’s abilities, but wasn't sure what the rest of the field would offer.

“I had no idea what to expect with those Central Mass. teams being thrown into the mix,” Chapdelaine said. “I thought we were in a really good position to do well and potentially move on [to states]. My team rose to the challenge. They had a rock solid season. They’re the hardest working kids that I’ve seen. They’re out on the range until dark, on the weekends, after practice.”




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