Nate Dos Santos earns medalist honors as Wahconah handles Lenox in high school golf
"We've got three eighth-graders and a seventh-grader in the line-up, so I expect them to not always be consistent, but they're good players," said Lenox coach Dick Salinetti. "I thought we had a real fine chance of winning, especially on our home course."
However, not all the Warriors were unfamiliar with the links on Route 20. Wahconah's No. 1 Nate Dos Santos is a member at Cranwell and competes out of the resort all summer. That familiarity slid the advantage back into Wahconah's favor as Dos Santos shot a 2-over-par 37, leading the Warriors to a 178-183 victory Tuesday afternoon.
Dos Santos, playing in a first group with teammate Caden Frazier and young Millionaires Max DiGrigoli and Brendan Hayden, entered the match with a goal of the 35 par on Cranwell's front-nine. Through six holes, he had played the course to an even draw. Despite missing a handful of birdie putts through the middle holes, Dos Santos wouldn't give an inch. On Hole 7, a 360-yard climb towards the clubhouse, trouble struck and he was force to three-putt to a bogie. Hole 8 presented an opportunity to fight back, though, and Dos Santos managed a birdie with a strong long-game to set up a short putt.
Cranwell's head games continued into final tee box, though, and the 405-yard finishing hole stole par away and then some, as Dos Santos finished two-over.
"It was an emotional round for me. I bogeyed seven and came back with a birdie on eight. I was thinking about that 35, though, instead of just playing my own match on that last hole," said Dos Santos. "I played it too aggressively, hit it in the sand trap and then instead of just tapping it in closer and taking the bogie, I hit it past the hole."
"Thirty-five is my comfort level. I've done it before and have a 34 here. It's just, I played the game way too aggressively today"
The course couldn't steal a team victory from the Warriors, even with Lenox leading in the clubhouse after the first group finished up. DiGrigoli and Hayden, both talented eighth-graders shot a 42 and 44, respectively. DiGrigoli in particular played his own game and managed to match Dos Santos on a handful of holes. He scored a par on the fourth and had a great tee-shot on six to the middle of the fairway. The duo put their squad ahead by two strokes.
"I can put them in the No. 1 and 2 positions and they're not intimidated," said Salinetti. "Those kids just play their own game, focus on what they're doing and their not intimidated by playing with really good players."
Wahconah's depth eventually proved the difference, with senior Cullen Harrington and freshman Daniel Wilson each notching 45s to round out the scoring. Victoria Orlandi and Isaac Anello finished with matching 53s for the Warriors as well.
Lenox put all six of its golfers at 50 or under, but fell behind through the middle groups. Noah Hunter posted a 48 and Cliff Flynn a 49 to total a Millionaires score of 183. Ricky Armstrong and Ben Haddad each played to a 50.
Wahconah (178) — Nate Dos Santos 37, Caden Frazier 51, Cullen Harrington 45, Victoria Orlandi 53, Isaac Anello 53, Daniel Wilson 45.
Lenox (183) — Max DiGrigoli 42, Brendan Hayden 44, Noah Hunter 48, Ricky Armstrong 50, Ben Haddad 50, Cliff Flynn 49.
Birdies — W: Dos Santos, No. 8.
Reach sports writer Mike Walsh at 413-496-6240 or @CLNS_Walsh.
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