GREAT BARRINGTON — It might have been Pat McLaughlin’s 15th birthday, but it was the Wahconah golfer who gave his team a gift.
McLaughlin was medalist at the inaugural Berkshire County Golf Championship, beating Monument Mountain’s Brad Danyluk by two strokes. That was enough to enable Wahconah and Mount Greylock to finish in a tie at the event, held Saturday at Wyantenuck Country Club.
“It definitely meant a lot,” McLaughlin said. “I was just trying to play it safe out there. Keep it in front of me and keep it simple. I knew if I get those first few pars, I get in a groove and can start playing well.”
McLaughlin shot a 1-over-par 37 on the nine holes at Wyantenuck. He was two strokes better than the Spartans’ Danyluk. There was a three-way tie for third between Greylock’s Alex Axt, Monument Mountain’s Benj Ryel and Lee’s Lucas Bombardier.
McLaughlin’s score was the difference between first and second for Wahconah. Axt led a group of four Greylock golfers, all of whom finished within three strokes of each other.
For their part, no Wahconah golfer shot lower than 45.
“We have a very young squad. I had two freshmen and an eighth grader in the lineup today, and they played very well,” Wahconah coach Pete Terpak said. “These greens can be very tricky. It was a little windy and cold for the kids, so a couple of 45s from those young boys, tremendous. I’m very happy.
“We have a nice, nice young team brewing.”
Every golfer wore a black ribbon either on their hats or their shirts, in memory of the late Tom Sullivan. The longtime head professional at Wyantenuck died back on Oct. 7, when the golf cart he was riding in was struck by a falling tree during storms that battered southern Berkshire County. Sullivan had a hand in the creation of this event.
Each of the five Berkshire County high school teams that competed in golf during the fall season sent four golfers to Wyantenuck. The 20 golfers were divided into four teams of five golfers each.
The event replaced the Berkshire Classic, which is an 18-hole tournament involving golfers from every county high school, for 2020.
The 37 equaled the lowest score McLaughlin had shot during the regular season.
“I was nervous at first, because I finished second [in the Berkshire Classic] last year,” he said. “It really boosted me to want to perform good this year. I felt comfortable going in.”
McLaughlin, playing in the second quintet, got pars on the par-4 first, the par-3 second and the par-4 third, and at that point said he felt comfortable.
“I’ve struggled here the last few times I’ve played here,” McLaughlin admitted. “I learned it. I know it well now, and I played it the best way I could.”
McLaughlin’s only bogey of the round came on the par-3 seventh hole.
“I kind of hit a bad tee shot. I was off the green, and I chipped on,” he said. “It lipped out and I tapped it in for a bogey.”
McLaughlin had a slight advantage in his group because eventual runner-up Danyluk bogeyed the first. The Monument golfer steadied the ship, but made bogey on the par-5 eighth hole and the par-4 10th, for his 39.
Mount Greylock’s Axt, Monument’s Ryel and Lee’s Bombardier were all in the first group of five, and they all shot 41s. Ryel was ahead of them until the 10th, when he made double-bogey while the other golfers made par.
“I played solid,” said Axt. “Made pars and a couple of bogeys. I decided to make a stupid double-bogey on the long par-3 [seventh hole], which kind of ruined it.”
With only five teams in the regular-season schedule, the golfers all got to know each other pretty well.
“In a normal season, we have all those normal rivalries with Pittsfield, Taconic and Hoosac, all in the North,” said Terpak, “I’m just happy the kids got to play.”
Team Results — 1. (tie) Wahconah and Mount Greylock 170; 3. Monument Mountain 175; 4. (tie) Mount Everett and Lee 199.
Individual finishers — 1. Patrick McLaughlin, Wahconah, 37; 2. Brad Danyluk, Monument, 39; 3. (tie) Benj Ryel, Monument, Alex Axt, Greylock, Lucas Bombardier, Lee, 41; 6. Owen Petropulos, Greylock, 42; 7. (tie) Dan Wilson, Wahconah and Cayden Conry, Greylock, 43; 9. (tie) Cooper Rothvoss, Everett and Ben Prescott, Greylock 44; 11. (tie) Tim Kaley, Wahconah and Brady Breitmaier, Wahconah 45; 13. Calen Hoff, Monument, 47; 14. Andrew Churchill, Monument, 48; 15. (tie) Jack Seward-Dailey, Everett and Colin Durken, Lee 49; 17. (tie) Kolby Bleau, Everett and Camden Redstone, Lee 51; 19. Kai LaRose, Everett, 55; 20. Kyle Benzie, Lee, 58.