Though the Greenwich High School boys golf team was defeated by formidable FCIAC foes New Canaan and St. Joseph this week, the young, inexperienced squad is still in the midst of a successful season, having posted a record of 10-2, heading into the final week of the regular season.
The Cardinals’ season-low, four-player, nine-hole aggregate score is a 152, which they combined to shoot in a victory against Brien McMahon last month. Greenwich also shot a 155 as a team in its win against Ridgefield and recorded a team score of 326 in an 18-hole triumph against Wilton at Burning Tree Country club last week. Sporting a 10-0 record going into their match against rival New Canaan, the Cardinals were edged by the Rams, 155-159, at Griffith E. Harris Golf Course on Wednesday. Thursday saw St. Joseph produce an impressive score of 162 on its way to defeating Greenwich, which carded a 169.
“We won a good match against Ridgefield, we lost to a very good New Canaan team and St. Joseph is solid too,” Santilli said. “We have Darien and Staples next – we have the top five teams at the very end of the season, so that will show where we stand as a team.”
Against St. Joseph on Thursday at Griffith E. Harris Golf Course in Greenwich, Cardinals freshman Charles Schrohe shared medalist honors with St. Joseph sophomore Andrew Flynn. They each shot a 1-over-par 37. Recently, Schrohe turned in a strong round against Wilton at Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich, in what was an 18-hole match.
“Schrohe shot a 32 on the back nine at Burning Tree the other day,” Santilli said. “He is only one of four kids who have done that for me. He shot 75 and he went out and turned an average front round into a really good back round and a great overall score. He’s a solid player, I think he’s top-5 in the league and top-20 in the state. I’m looking for good things from him the next three years.”
Freshmen Owen Duda and Jack Hopper each finished with rounds of 42 against St. Joseph on Thursday. Juniors Luke Scanlan and J.T. Spadone each shot a 45, as did senior Matias Lew, for the Cardinals in the matchup versus the Cadets.
“They’re solid players, they go out there and compete and shoot 39s and 40s, which is what we’re looking for,” Santilli said. They’re brand new starters on the varsity this year, so this is all new to them as well. Now with the experience they’ve gained going into the fall season, they will definitely be good contributors next year.”
Santilli has also seen his freshmen improve as the season has progressed.
“Our couple of freshmen Owen Duda and Jack Hopper, are playing consistently all year,” Santilli said. “They have been averaging 40, 41 as a season average. For our team, it’s not ability at this point, it’s understanding how to mentally play a golf course. Course management is the key theme this year.”
On Thursday, Colin Firda shot a 39 and Anthony Jacozzi posted a 42 for St. Joseph, which should be one of the contenders at the FCIAC Tournament, which takes place on June 3 at Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course. Greenwich won the FCIAC title three consecutive season from 2017 to 2019.
New Canaan, Darien, Greenwich, Staples and Ridgefield will also be vying for the FCIAC championship.
“It’s going to definitely be an interesting FCIAC championship,” Santilli said. “The team that makes the least amount of mistakes will be the winner this year. I don’t think it will be won on pure talent. Course management is the key theme this year. Once we get there, I think we’ll see a lot more consistent scoring. At the FCIAC Tournament, the team that handles the mental challenge ahead of them during a long 18-hole round will win. You have to mentally be tough. There will be some mistakes made, it will come down to who manages those mistakes. We’ll hopefully, be ready to mentally approach the day and be ready to play our best golf.”