NHIAA D-III Golf Championships a Mountain Adventure

  • Lebanon High School's Kyle Pelletier reacts to a missed putt during a NHIAA D-III golf championship on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, at the Owl's Nest Golf Club in Thornton, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Stevens High School's Teagan Daignault tees off on the 10th hole during a NHIAA D-III golf championship on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, at the Owl's Nest Golf Club in Thornton, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Charles Hatcher

  • Lebanon High School's Zach Barden makes a chip shot on the 18th hole during a NHIAA D-III golf championship on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, at the Owl's Nest Golf Club in Thornton, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Charles Hatcher

  • Stevens High School's Dylan Adamovich eyes the course before choosing a club during a NHIAA D-III golf championship on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, at the Owl's Nest Golf Club in Thornton, N.H. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Charles Hatcher

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/10/2017 11:49:42 PM
Modified: 10/10/2017 11:49:47 PM

Thornton, n.h. — A highway sign perched just south of the Interstate 93 exit leading to Owl’s Nest Golf Club informs travelers they’re entering New Hampshire’s White Mountains region. As advertised, the course was an uphill climb for many at Tuesday’s NHIAA Division III team golf championship.

Amid sunny but breezy conditions on the fringes of Franconia Notch, the Manchester-based Derryfield School captured its first D-III team title with a score of 343, six strokes better than runner-up Kearsarge. Bow (354) placed third, ending its run of five straight team titles.

Lebanon was eighth, with junior Kyle Pelletier qualifying for Saturday’s individual championship by one stroke with a 16-over-par round of 88. Senior Teagan Daignault (84), of ninth-place Stevens, was four strokes better.

Sanborn’s Keegan Branham medaled with a 76, ahead of Kearsarge’s Jake Bears (79). Derryfield’s Colin McCauigue and Gunnar Senatore tied for the team lead with rounds of 80, while Bow’s Jake Mielcarz was fifth with an 81.

Lumping Owl’s Nest into a category with other hilly New Hampshire courses doesn’t lend justice to the scale of its terrain, particularly on a back nine practically equivalent to a moderate hike in the nearby Presidentials.

That’s where five of the Raiders’ seven golfers began in a shotgun start, making physical stamina as paramount as mental focus with many golfers competing in an 18-hole round for the first time this season.

Though the setting was aesthetically striking in peak foliage, Lebanon coach Chris Pollard didn’t envy the task of his golfers.

“I was gassed, and I did a lot less walking than they did and without a bag of clubs on my back,” the 10th-year coach said. “When you’re on that back nine, it’s basically like you’re up in the mountains. By the time you get to the front … It’s just a lot of walking, and if you hit one or two bad balls, it can be a lot for them mentally.”

Senior Logan French shot 91, Graham Ten Haken hit 94 and Joey Dupree had a 105 for the Raiders, who’d finished the regular season 18-9 and were seeded seventh. Zach Barden (106), Stephan Krueger (110) and Ben Begin (115) also saw action for Lebanon. French, who started on the difficult 12th hole, actually shot better on the back nine (41) than the front (50), though fatigue may have factored in after making the turn.

“The way we were looking at it, we entered the day ranked seventh so we wanted to leave in seventh place or better,” Pollard said. “We ended up two strokes behind (seventh place Pelham), which I attribute to us being a young team and, again, struggling in the setting.

“Another big factor was the wind, which affects everything from your drives to your approach shots to putting. In the Upper Valley, a lot of the courses we play in are kind of sheltered from those type of winds. Some teams handled it better than others today, but I think we had some difficulty with it.”

Pelletier — who placed third at last season’s individual states at Meredith’s Waukewan Golf Club — parred nine holes and had a bogey or worse on the other nine, including three triples.

“To have that many pars and still shoot 88 … I just hit it to places where you can’t hit it on too many occasions,” Pelletier said. “I didn’t do a great job minimizing mistakes today. I would say the wind affected my approach shots more than anything.”

Derryfield (36-1) avenged its lone loss, by 13 strokes on Sept. 27, against a Kearsarge team with which it shares the Cougar nickname. A scorecard for one Derryfield’s top golfers wasn’t counted in that match because of violations, though according to Kearsarge coach Dave Muzzey, his team would have prevailed even if the eliminated card had been allowed.

Derryfield coach Danny Arvanitis said his team moved on from the September setback quickly.

“Would it have been nice to win them all? Absolutely, but I’m very proud of my team for how consistent they were all year,” said Arvanitis, whose team captured consecutive D-IV titles in 2012-13 before petitioning up to D-III. “We had a couple guys who shot 35-36 (nine-hole rounds) all year long and another couple who were in the 45-46 range all year. That type of consistency is the only formula you need.”

Stevens — a late addition to the tournament after Campbell was disqualified for a caddying violation during its regular-season finale — placed ninth with 390 points, ahead of both Prospect Mountain and Gilford.

Daignault’s 84 was followed by Cardinal freshman Dylan Adamovich (97), senior Andrew Friend (98), and freshmen Finn Allen (111) and Brady Small (133).

Stevens made strides this season despite losing four 2016 contributors to graduation.

“We had great leadership this year from Teagan and Andrew, and to come in here and beat two teams, I think, says a lot about the direction of the program and how hard they worked,” Stevens coach Ryan Seaver said.

“I’m pretty pumped. We had three guys shoot under 100, so they averaged better than 50 (per nine holes). That’s not easy on this course.”

Saturday’s individual championships back at Owl’s Nest begin at 10 a.m.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3225.




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