Rivendell Golfers Go Over the Hump for Title Repeat
Rivendell's Ryan Landgraf places his ball before putting on the second green of the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury Center, Vt., on Wednesday, June 4, during the VPA boys state golf championship. Landgraf shot a round of 87 to help the Raptors win their second straight Division III championship.
Valley News -- Greg Fennell
With Camel's Hump in the distance, Rivendell's Jacob Perkins drives his ball off the fifth tee at the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury Center, Vt., on Wednesday, June 4, during the VPA boys golf championship. Perkins and Rivendell repeated as Vermont Division III champions.
Valley News -- Greg Fennell
Mid Vermont Christian's Austin Sayers watches the flight of his approach shot to the sixth green at the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury Center, Vt., en route to a 12-over-par 84 in the VPA boys state golf championship on Wednesday, June 4. Sayers' round was good enough to claim the Division III individual medal.
Valley News -- Greg Fennell
Waterbury Center, Vt. — The distinctive profile of Camel’s Hump dominates the scenery available along much of the Country Club of Vermont. It’s deliberate: The tourist gets the view of the 4,083-foot peak, particularly from the clubhouse patio, while the golfer gets the reminder of the humps and bumps ahead.
Rivendell Academy’s path to a second consecutive Vermont Division III state golf championship followed a similarly uneven road.
The Raptors, minus two players at the season’s start because of a school conduct code violation, had only two weeks to post team match scores as preparation for states. Once together, however, Rivendell met the expectations of a defending champion, capping the campaign with an eight-stroke win over Stowe on Wednesday at CCV.
Playing out of the No. 4 slot, senior Josh Marshall set the foundation with an 11-over 83 on CCV’s rolling hills and greens, which became more treacherous as an afternoon wind built. Sophomore Ryan Landgraf (87) and senior Luke Bell (92) added to that, with matching rounds of 103 from sophomores Sam Kamel and Jacob Perkins clinching the crown.
Mid Vermont Christian’s Austin Sayers won the D-III medal with an 82. Woodstock, led by an 84 from senior Carter Pratt that was a 16-stroke improvement over his score at sectionals, took fourth in Division II.
“I’m just satisfied that the team won overall; that’s what it comes down to,” Marshall said. “Even though we only played in matches for two weeks as a team, we still had the time to practice. What it came down to was we got a chance to qualify for states and got the opportunity to defend our title. The boys are back in town.”
The Raptors shot 365 as a team, while Stowe came in at 373. The closeness wasn’t lost on anyone in Rivendell colors.
Bell thought he had his day in hand, with birdies on 4, 5 and 10 setting the stage for a low round. He was less certain when the bogey train came calling, with back-to-back-to-back doubles along with a snowman 8 on the par-4 17th.
“You miss 5 feet in the wrong spot,” Bell lamented, “you’re going to make a big number.”
As it turned out, he need not have worried. CCV — fairly lengthy at 6,348 yards off the intermediate tees — suited Marshall well. If not for some putting misfortune, the Rivendell senior might have gone scary low.
“My long game was as good as it’s ever been,” Marshall said. “I was hitting the ball off the tee very well. The greens, on the other hand, are fairly unforgiving. I lipped out for seven birdies, and didn’t make a single one.”
Landgraf’s round also helped level out Bell’s back-nine adventures.
“I had a lot more lowlights than highlights, but every tee shot that I hit looked pretty good in the air,” Landgraf said. “I’ll take what I can get. I definitely couldn’t hit the ball that well, but I’m just trying to grind it out. That’s our team motto, pretty much.”
MVCS ace Sayers got his bumps out of the way early, carding a 9 on the par-5 third hole thanks to two out-of-bounds drives.
Everything else was relative gravy, enough for him to close his high school career as the top player in D-III.
“The next hole, I stuck it right next to the pin,” Sayers said. “It didn’t bother me that much. If I could just maybe par out for the front nine, it would be OK.”
Wyat Sherman (90), Connor Dorr (115) and Isaac McIntire (120) completed the scoring for the Eagles, who shot 407 as a team to finish fifth out of the six D-III schools.
Rivendell, however, remains at the top of the heap … or Hump, if you will.
“I think I definitely feel better than last year, especially since this is my last sporting event I’m ever going to play with a team,” Bell said.
“Repeating, it’s just a great feeling. One state championship is awesome; two is twice as good, twice as nice.”
Woodstock Fourth: Only a closing 76 from Springfield ace Alex Rumrill kept Woodstock from a top-three finish in D-II. Rice rode an even-par 72 from Caleb Connerty to a team 327, beating Lyndon (343), the Cosmos (357) and the Wasps (361).
Pratt provided the pleasant surprise. The senior’s 84 came in his first time on CCV’s undulating terrain and featured a 3-over-39 on the front side.
“The front went really well,” Pratt said. “I loved it. … Out here, it’s nice and open and it gives you the illusion that you have space to work with.”
Andrew Becker (91), Joe Bianchi (88) and Charlie Kelly (98) contributed the rest of the scores for Woodstock.
“I didn’t expect three of them to break 100,” Woodstock coach Jim Gunnare said. “This is a hard golf course.”
Chip Shots: Oxbow’s Chase Andrews, the only Upper Valley golfer competing as an individual, shot a 91 in the Division II tourney. … Those responsible for printing team sheets for the clubhouse scoreboard misidentified MVCS as another school, which slipped past past Vermont Golf Association director Jim Kiehle when it came time to introduce the Eagles’ Colin Filiault on the first tee. “Missisquoi? Is that where we’re from?” Filiault joshed. … Sayers is bound for NAIA Division II basketball at California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, Calif., just north of San Francisco. The Keelhaulers went 27-6 last winter and made the NAIA national tournament. … Rutland’s Drake Hull shot the only below-par round of the day, a 6-under 66, to beat Connerty by six strokes. The Raiders also won the D-I crown with a team 307, beating Essex (317) and St. Johnsbury (318). … Harwood High has called CCV its home course the past eight years.
Greg Fennell can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3226.