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A Wet, Wild Day: Marauders Survive Soggy Weather at D-I Golf Championship

  • Hanover High golf coach John Donnelly, right, hands a dry scorecard to the Marauders’ Kyle Rozzi behind the ninth green at The Oaks Golf Links during the NHIAA Division I team golf championship in Somersworth, N.H., on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover High’s Patrick Daley watches the flight of his ball from the 10th tee at The Oaks Golf Links during the NHIAA Division I team golf championship in Somersworth, N.H., on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover High’s Peter Lukovits looks over a putt on the ninth green at The Oaks Golf Links during the NHIAA Division I team golf championship in Somersworth, N.H., on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover High’s Jack Meehan watches a competitors putt miss the mark as he tends the flag on the ninth green at The Oaks Golf Links during the NHIAA Division I team golf championship in Somersworth, N.H., on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Sodden Hanover High golfer Caleb Hamblen walks up to the ninth green at The Oaks Golf Links during the NHIAA Division I team golf championship in Somersworth, N.H., on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover High’s Cameron Woods lines up his soccer-themed golf ball for a putt on the ninth green at The Oaks Golf Links during the NHIAA Division I team golf championship in Somersworth, N.H., on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover High’s Justin Alderdice shakes water from his umbrella after completing the ninth hole at The Oaks Golf Links during the NHIAA Division I team golf championship in Somersworth, N.H., on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • After removing his scorecard from a plastic bag, Hanover High’s Justin Alderdice ducks under his umbrella to update his score on the 10th tee at The Oaks Golf Links during the NHIAA Division I team golf championship in Somersworth, N.H, on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Sports Editor
Friday, October 12, 2018

Somersworth, n.h. — Anyone thinking golf can’t be an ordeal didn’t see Hanover High’s Justin Alderdice in action on Thursday.

Steady, occasionally heavy rain greeted Alderdice and the Marauders when they arrived at The Oaks Golf Links at 8 a.m. for their first NHIAA Division I team golf championship. As the No. 7 golfer in Hanover’s eight-man lineup, Alderdice started his round an hour later on the fifth hole. By the ninth, he was soaked to the bone, shivering, occasionally grimacing to ward off the chill.

“I didn’t have a sweatshirt, and my rain jacket was really wet,” a cold-handed, shorts-wearing Alderdice admitted later. “I just had to use the rain jacket for the last couple of holes. It was very cold. Just had to work through it, I guess.”

He soldiered on. So did his teammates.

After their fingers warm up, the Marauders will likely look at Thursday’s sixth-place finish in the 10-team D-I field as the end of an interesting experiment, one that will continue into the foreseeable future.

By earning the tourney’s fourth seed with a 16-3 record, Hanover showed it belonged in the state’s big-school golf division. By dropping back two places in the final standings with a team 426, with five-time champion Bedford 28 shots beyond — on the kind of raw, gray day normally reserved for submarining under a warm blanket — the Marauders gained an understanding of what separates them from the D-I cream. For now.

“It’s our first year in D-I; we came into it fourth, but I’m not too disappointed with sixth place, for sure,” veteran Hanover coach John Donnelly said. “On a day like this, just trying to avoid the doubles and triples, that was our only goal.”

Two Marauders advanced to Saturday’s individual championship at Manchester’s Derryfield Country Club. Senior Peter Lukovits played 1-under-par golf on The Oaks’ back nine and shares the 18-hole lead with Bishop Guertin’s Jack Fitzgerald at 4-over 75. Lukovits’ back-side 35 was the only below-par nine by anyone on Thursday.

He’ll be joined by teammate Jack Meehan on Saturday. The junior had two birdies — putting from the high grass to sink one of them on the par-4 ninth hole — en route to a 10-over 81.

“With the rain, I feel pretty happy about that,” Meehan said. “The course is not difficult, but it’s target golf. You need to hit it on the right areas or else it’s easy to make double bogeys. The greens are really nice, but they roll fast, even in this rain. All in all, I’m pretty happy with 81, especially in these conditions.”

Doubt remained whether the team tournament would even be completed. As of 9:45 a.m., New Hampshire Golf Association tournament director Greg Howell indicated organizers might call the round, since water was beginning to pool on some of The Oaks’ greens. Although puddles dotted some fairways, authorities decided to plow onward.

NHIAA rules require all 18 holes be played to determine a team champion. If, at some point, Oaks officials deem the course unplayable, the entire round gets canceled. It rarely happens — except in the case of Division III at Laconia Country Club on Thursday — and after that much soggy suffering, what golfer really wants to stop?

“I was expecting it to get canceled, honestly,” Lukovits said. “If I was playing badly, maybe I’d want it to end. But I started off pretty well, so I was kind of hoping, once we got started, that we would go through it all.”

Lukovits didn’t get off to a flying start for Hanover, amassing three bogeys and a double between the fourth and eighth holes. He settled down with a by-the-books par on 9, however, then racked up eight more pars along with a birdie on the 121-yard, par-3 13th. Meehan posted a consistent round, going 5 over on both nines with a birdie on each side. Patrick Daley (89), Kyle Rozzi (90) and Cameron Woods (91) completed the scoring for the Marauders.

Bedford won its fifth straight D-I team title, and its sixth in seven years, with a tally of 398. While the Marauders (six) had more birdies than the Bulldogs (five) as a team, Bedford distinguished itself by a nominally smaller number of bogeys, doubles and others.

If Hanover enjoyed consistent scoring, Bedford’s was more consistently low.

“The teams that ended up beating us, there’s a little more depth in the first six or seven teams,” Donnelly said. “There are individuals in Division II, III and IV that can stack up, at the very top. But you’re going to have 10-15 kids here that are stronger than 10-15 in the other divisions.”

Concord placed second at 410, followed by Exeter (414) and Pinkerton (418).

Meehan, Daley, Woods and Alderdice return for Hanover next year, and now all of them know what’s waiting for them each autumn in New Hampshire’s top high school golf division.

“We’ve got to work hard at it,” Donnelly said. “Obviously, the competition is higher, so we’ve got to rise to the challenge.”

The rainfall will hopefully go in the opposite direction.

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Chip Shots: Caleb Hamblen (92), James Healy (95) and Alderdice (97) had Hanover’s non-scoring rounds. … Hannah Drew, who won the 18-hole championship flight at the NHIAA girls golf championship two weeks ago at Campbell’s Scottish Highlands in Salem, shot the low round for fifth-place Keene (420), a 9-over 80 that would have been good enough to make the boys individual finals if she’d been eligible. … Meehan will tee off at 10:18 a.m. on Saturday, and Lukovits will follow at 10:54. It’s the first time that the NHIAA has brought all four divisions together on one course for the final round of their respective individual finals.

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.