Fall sports

Greenwich boys golf team captures CIAC Division I Golf Tournament championship

Contributed photo: Members of the Greenwich High School boys golf team gather around the championship plaque after winning the team title at the CIAC Division I Golf Tournament on November 1, 2022, at Stanley Golf Course.

From an undefeated regular season, to winning the FCIAC title to capturing the CIAC Division I Tournament, the fall season just kept getting more exciting for the Greenwich High School boys golf team.

And, of course, the most thrilling day of the season for the Cardinals occurred Tuesday at Stanley Golf Course in New Britain.

That’s where Greenwich earned its biggest victory of the season – a win that gave it another state championship.

Posting a team score of 297, Greenwich won its 10th state title and fifth under the watch of coach Jeff Santilli, as each of its golfers registered impressive rounds in the 15-team CIAC Division I Tournament.

The Cardinals finished third in the 2021 Division I Tournament, which was won by New Canaan.

“After last year’s bitter taste that was the goal, winning the state title,” Santilli said. “We were getting better every day. Once we started the season, we had a feeling it will be a solid year. They jelled together and really bonded as a team. They were great kids and I think many of the people we played against noticed that. This team was supportive of each other and their opponents.”

While Greenwich carded a score of 297, runner-up Farmington finished just one stroke behind with a 298, followed by New Canaan.

“One, two, three were separated by two shots, I’m not sure how many times that’s happened before in the state tournament,” Santilli said. “We had some good practices last week to keep them focused and our team showed up and made it simple – play hard, don’t quit on each other. Win or lose, I told them I was very proud of what they did this year. I was very impressed with the scores on the back nine.”

Greenwich’s AJ Enslein shot a 72 at the CIAC Division I Championship at Stanley Golf Course in New Britain.

Sophomore AJ Enslein produced Greenwich’s top score, shooting a 1-over-par 72 at Stanley Golf Course. Enslein tied for fifth overall in the tournament, which saw Harrison Browne of Staples and Caleb Smith from Farmington share medalist honors with a 2-under-par 69.

Enslein parred 12 holes and registered three birdies. He sank birdie putts on No. 6 (par-4), No. 7 (par-4) and No. 13 (par-4).

“AJ was phenomenal,” Santilli said. “For a sophomore to go in there and shoot 1-over par in state championship was phenomenal. What a performance.”

Senior captain Charles Schrohe, the 2022 FCIAC Player of the Year, shot a 2-over-par 73 to also pace the Cardinals. Schrohe had 14 pars and one birdie (12th hole, par-4).

Charles Schrohe shot a 73 at the CIAC Division I Championship at Stanley Golf Course in New Britain.

“He was 3-over after nine and stayed focused on the 10th hole, which was a turning point for him,” Santilli said of Schrohe. “That was a turning point. He hit 3-iron instead of driver and got the back nine started by making a nice par. He played a clean 1-under round from there.”

Schrohe’s round of 73 tied for seventh in the tournament.

“He’s not the kind of kid to let a round go,” Santilli said. “He showed his maturity. Going into the season, he had a great summer.”

An All-FCIAC, All-State Team honoree, Schrohe will continue his golf career at Lehigh University.

“For Charles, it was only a three-year stint, he lost his freshman year to COVID,” Santilli noted. “The maturity he displayed over the last year is so impressive. He was a great captain for the rest of the kids. He led by example, he works hard at it and a lot of these kids see that. Champions are made when no one is watching and Charles puts in a lot of work when no one is watching.”

Junior Owen Duda also produced an impressive round of 2-over 73 for Greenwich. Duda made birdie putts on No. 5 (par-4), No. 11 (par-3) and No. 16 (par-4).

Owen Duda shot a 73 for Greenwich, which won the team title at the state tournament.

“Owen goes out and always handles his business,” Santilli said. “He birdied 16 to get to 2-under. Our goal is no matter what happens in a round, just let it be. These kids know how to grind it out and play. Take it shot-by-shot – it’s what you do next that counts.”

Jack Hopper, a junior registered a score of 79, while Cardinals teammate Dylan Harris, a senior, shot an 80.

“Our team went in there knowing they had a really good shot at this,” Santilli said. “We played some of the toughest golf courses in the state.”

Junior Emmett Graham played at the fifth and sixth spots for the Cardinals and helped guide GHS to its 15-0 regular season record. Prior to this season, Greenwich last won the CIAC Division I state title in 2019, which followed a 2018 triumph in the tournament.

“We were one of the only teams that didn’t see the golf course,” Santilli noted. “We won five state championships and each time, we didn’t have a practice round in any of the courses. Maybe there is something there. We’ll continue to do that.”

At the FCIAC Championships recently at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, Greenwich won the team title with a score of 327, two strokes better than runner-up New Canaan.

Hopper was the tournament’s medalist with a 76.

“One through six, all could go low any day and they were all medalists during the season,” Santilli said of his squad. “On any given day, you never know who is going to go low. Overall, it was a fun year and it was a great group of kids to coach.”

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