La Plata fin­ishes 3rd, North Point 4th at SMAC golf tour­na­ment

War­riors, Ea­gles show well at con­fer­ence golf tour­na­ment

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­

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.

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