La Plata finishes 3rd, North Point 4th at SMAC golf tournament
Warriors, Eagles show well at conference golf tournament
There appears to be just one thing capable of slowing down the Northern golf team, which added yet another plaque to its trophy case when it claimed the Southern Maryland Athletic Conference tournament title on Monday at Chesapeake Hills Golf Club in Lusby.
The Patriots won the title after shooting a team score of 317. Huntingtown was a distant second with 333 while La Plata grabbed third place with a 344, a 24-stroke improvement over its score at Districts. North Point was fourth with 353.
Northern won the team title thanks in large part to placing four golfers – Johnna Parlett (77), Elizabeth Coffren (79), Matt Thomson (80) and Tyler Potts (81) – in the top nine.
“It’s difficult when you’re the team to beat,” Northern head coach Micky Norfolk said. “It’s almost like football when you play a team two, three times but you’re still playing the course and this course is quirky. It’s our nemesis, and it almost bothers me that it’s our nemesis.”
But Northern, which was undefeated during the dual meet season and won the Calvert County and District IV tournaments, will now be forced to slow down only because the SMAC championship was the end of the regular high school golf season.
“I am proud of the team to run the table,” Norfolk said. “It’s hard to do. People say, ‘Well you expect it’ but I don’t. I expect us to play well and be dogged
and do what we need to do on every shot, and so I’m proud that they’ve done that. It’s been a great year isn that respect.”
Norfolk said the team exceeded his expectations.
“I knew [we’d be good] with Johnna coming and I’d heard about Elizabeth and I was counting on Tyler and Jack and Matt to be our strengths and they’ve certainly been that,” Norfolk said. “But Elizabeth’s been fantastic. To have girls is good but these two are special.”
While Northern all but ran away with the team title on Monday, the individual SMAC champion was only determined after a playoff between William Garrett of Huntingtown and Northern’s Johnna Parlett, who each shot 5-over par 77s.
“Will Garrett’s a great player and Johnna has been fantastic for us,” said Norfolk, whose Patriots hosted the tournament. “To do [a playoff] is always exciting. You have the whole gallery out there and it’s exciting. I’m happy for both of them.”
A playoff seemed highly unlikely for Garrett, who was even after 14 holes. But he finished 5-over on the last four holes to force to playoff.
“It’s unacceptable from my playing standpoint,” Garrett said. “I definitely made some mistakes and I’m definitely going to learn from it.”
Curiously, the duo also tied with 74s at the County tournament on Oct. 5, also at Chesapeake Hills.
“It’s kind of cool because we’re both good players,” Parlett said of the rivalry that’s developed between the two golfers. “And we’re competitive against each other.’
Though each golfer missed short putts on the playoff hole — the par-4 No. 1 — Garrett emerged as conference champion.
“There was definitely some pressure, a lot of pressure,” Garrett said of his first playoff. “When I stood over the ball I just thought about nothing but golf and I hit it great on my approach shot. I hit it onto the green about six feet from birdie and then I three-putted but that’s how I putted all day.”
“It was really cool; it was a nice experience but I’ve never had that many people watch me before,” Parlett said. “I tried playing it safe, but I think I probably should have just gone for it instead. I was just nervous.”
But the twosome were hardly alone at the top as nine golfers finished within five strokes of Garrett and Parlett.
Huntingtown’s Wade Antonielli took third place after shooting a 78.
“My putting was great today. I was rolling them all in,” said Antonielli, a junior, who also made sure to thank head coach John McGuffin and McGuffin’s assistants. “Nothing was short today. [I knew I needed to] hit every green in regulation, or at least a lot of them, and at least I could rely on my putting.”
Matt Zabiegalski of North Point finished with a 79 with Coffren a stroke back.
“I did decent but I could have done a lot better,” Zabegalski, a senior, said of his last high school match. “It was kind of everything. My season’s over and it’s exciting to move on.”
Thomson tied for sixth overall with Lazerus Sutton of La Plata.
“I’m happy with the way I shot,” said Sutton, a junior, who is playing his first season. “I was driving the ball well and I got my short game going today. I really hit my driver straight and it set up my short game. It really helped my game.”
Potts tied with North Point’s Trent Tyer with identical 81s and Mark Burgess of McDonough and Nick Garofalo were a stroke back. La Plata freshman Jackson Tyler shot an 83.
“I wasn’t hitting my driver real well and then on the back nine I was tedious and I was a lot tighter,” said Burgess, a senior. “Everything just blew up at the end. I couldn’t hit a ball straight on the last five holes.”
Chopticon’s DJ Littleford (87), Stone’s Josh Lawrence (89), Leonardtown’s Tucker Evans (92), Patuxent’s Tyson Ballew (95), Calvert’s Nia Fitzhugh (97), Great Mills’ Colin Head (100) and Lackey’s Alannah Milstead (112) each led their respective teams. Ryan Graves (114) was Westlake’s only golfer.
“No sir,” said Littleford, a junior, when asked if he was pleased with his round. “Honestly, I needed to keep my head in it more and I just kind of gave up at the end because I just did really bad.”
“It started off good, I just couldn’t finish,” said Evans, a senior. “My putting was off; I could hit greens but … The greens were fine and the course wasn’t in bad shape. It wasn’t the course, it was the player.”
The last golf event on tap will be the Maryland state championships, which will be held Oct. 22-24 at the University of Maryland College Park.
“I always feel freer at states,” said Norfolk of the Patriots, the only SMAC team to qualify, though the conference will also be sending six individuals. “They’ve played that course a lot and it’ll be interesting to see how we do our first day. My biggest fear is overconfidence but yeah, I like our chances.”
Thomas Stone’s Josh Lawrence sends a shot onto the green on Monday during the SMAC golf tournament at Chesapeake Hills Golf Course on Monday.
La Plata’s Savannah Maddox putts toward the hole during the SMAC golf tournament at Chesapeake Hills Golf Course on Monday.