W. Mass. Division II golf: Drury wins team title, Monument's Hunter qualifies for states
WILBRAHAM -- The Drury golf team waited anxiously outside the clubhouse Monday afternoon. Members of the team tried to estimate what their team score would be.
The final score was penned in a bright blue marker, which was fitting. The Blue Devils claimed the Western Massachusetts Division II championship.
Drury's 336 team score edged out Frontier by five shots at the Country Club of Wilbraham. Nick Bator had the lowest individual score for the Blue Devils with a 79.
Matt Lawrence finished with an 82, followed by Nick Trombley (87), Nick Boulger (88), Doug Sigsbury (94) and Alex Candiloro (100).
Bator's 79 placed him five shots behind individual champion Nathan Patterson of Frontier.
Bator said he had to adjust to playing at Wilbraham.
"It started off not great on the first few holes. But once I hit the front nine, I started to do a lot better," Bator said.
The championship for the Blue Devils caps off an impressive turnaround for the program. From a winless season four years ago to a sectional team championship, the transition has been quite a ride for the team's lone senior, Matt Lawrence.
"It feels great. A lot of hard work through the years has paid off," Lawrence said.
The Blue Devils are headed to the MIAA state meet at Blackstone National Golf Club in Sutton on Oct. 28. Monument Mountain will also be represented at the state meet, as Owen Hunter's 80 qualified him to compete at Blackstone.
Drury coach Don Dagnoli said his team is excited about being Division II champions, while also looking ahead to the state meet.
"We're going to enjoy this moment, but we're looking forward to playing in the states," Dagnoli said. "Anything could happen now, so anything else would be gravy."
Hunter's score placed him in a tie for the third-lowest score of the day with Zack Adams of Mahar. Hunter said he it feels good to qualify after narrowly missing a state championship bid last year.
"Last year I made a couple errors and I missed it by a couple strokes. So it feels good," Hunter said. "Hopefully next year we can come back and win as a team."
Kinne added Hunter has a great mentality on the course which allows him to play well in tournament settings.
"He's a pit bull," Kinne said. "He has been our most consistent player all year. He deserves to go [to the state meet]."
Monument finished with a team score of 353, placing them sixth of seven teams. Ryan Buffoni finished behind Hunter with an 89, followed by T.J. Shumsky (91), Aaron Coons (93), Jeff Spratt (94) and John Ryan (104).
Coach Tom Kinne said he was proud of the way his team battled for a chance to play at the Western Mass. meet.
"They worked so hard to come back from being 1-5 and winning enough matches to go to the tournament," Kinne said.
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