Lee's Thomas Fraser wins individual title at Western Mass. Division III golf tournament
SOUTH HADLEY — Lee's Thomas Fraser started from the first hole at Monday's Western Massachusetts Division III golf championship at The Orchards. He and his playing partners were the first ones to finish. Ultimately, nobody caught Fraser.
The Wildcat junior shot a 6-over-par 77 to win the individual championship and advance to next week's State Division III championship at Wyantenuck Country Club in Great Barrington. Fraser, who finished tied for second last year, beat both Jack Ter Doest of Hopkins Academy and Luke Willenborg of St. Mary's by two strokes. Those three played in the same grouping.
"I'm definitely very happy," said Fraser, who tied for second in last year's tournament with Ten Doest at Wyantenuck. "I've always dreamt of this since I was in seventh grade and just starting on varsity. It finally happened, so I'm just excited."
Fraser, however, will be the only Wildcat heading to Great Barrington next week. The Wildcats missed qualifying for the state tournament as a team by one stroke. Monson, not even in the tournament last year, shot a 351 at The Orchards to win the team title. Franklin Tech will be the other Western Mass. Division III team at Wyantenuck, shooting a 363. The Wildcats were at 364, while Lenox was next with a 365.
It was the second consecutive season where Lee finished third, after winning the Western Mass. title in 2015.
"Disappointing," said Lee coach Matt Carlino. "We definitely felt like we had a chance to win it today. You have to give it to Monson to be 351. We thought we could shoot that coming in today. Coming off our past scores, you would have thought we'd do that."
McCann Tech was sixth in the eight-team field with a 396 score.
Individually, McCann's Cole Kratz finished tied for ninth at 88, Lenox's Matt Hunter was 11th with an 89, while the Millionaires' Max DiGrigoli was 12th at 90. Following them, Lee's Hunter Roosa and Lenox's Brendan Hayden tied for 13th at 91.
Fraser said that playing another Donald Ross course — Greenock Country Club was redesigned by the legendary course designer in 1927 — made playing The Orchards fun.
"I was mainly scrambling for pars," said Fraser. "A par was a good score. Throw in two birdies, which was nice."
Fraser hit a bump in the road as he made the turn for the back nine. He three-putted on the par-5 ninth hole for a bogey, then bogeyed the par-3 10th, and par-4 11th.
After a string of pars, Fraser birdied the par-5, 456-yard 15th hole.
"I knew I had a shot at a birdie going into the hole," he said. "It was a little short par-5."
Fraser hit a driver on his tee shot and a five-iron in. He two-putted for birdie, just missing out on an eagle.
"I felt definitely good," he said.
Feeling good was definitely something that could be said for the other two county teams in the D-III event. Last year, Lenox finished fifth and was 22 strokes behind eventual champion Hopkins Academy. To miss making the state tournament by two strokes with a team that has only one senior, brought a smile to coach Dick Salinetti's face.
"I'm happy with the season, but just disappointed for them. They finished two strokes out of second," he said. "They had a wonderful year. They're disappointed, but they'll be back next year. It's something to work on for next year."
Lenox's top three golfers finished within two strokes of each other. Senior Noah Hunter shot 89, eighth-grader Max DiGrigoli shot 90 and eighth-grader Brendan Hayden shot 91.
McCann Tech's Kratz, who earned his way to the state tournament last year, came up short. He missed the cutoff by seven shots.
"They came out and played as hard as they could," McCann coach Justin Kratz said. "They had a nice season. I thought they were a little bit higher than they're capable of. But again, it's a tough course.
"You make a big jump when you play the courses we play in the regular season to this one, that hosted the U.S. [Women's] Open."
1. Monson 351, 2. Franklin Tech 363, 3. Lee 364, 4. Lenox 365, 5 Smith Academy 375, 6. McCann Tech 390, 7. Ware 398, 8. Mohawk 502.
1. Thomas Fraser, Lee 39-38 77; 2. (tie) Jack Ter Doest, Hopkins 39-40 79, and Luke Willenborg, St. Mary's 40-39 79; 4. Mason Dumas, Monson 39-41 80; 5. (tie) Cameron Kratovil, Monson 42-39 81, and John Soltys, Ware 39-42 81; 7. Michael Patnode, Franklin Tech 40-46 86; 8. Daniel Cavanaugh, Smith Academy 43-44 87; 9. (tie) Cole Kratz, McCann 45-43 88, and Michael McGoldrick, Franklin Tech 41-47 88; 11. Noah Hunter, Lenox 43-46 89; 12. Max DiGrigoli, Lenox 47-43 90; 13. (tie) Hunter Roosa, Lee 44-47 91, and Brendan Hayden, Lenox 43-48 91; 15. Aiden Jennings, Monson 47-45 92.
Berkshire County Teams
Lee (364) — Thomas Fraser 77, Hunter Roosa 91, Colin Finnegan 93, Lucas Bombadier 103, Dylan Ely 104, Cam Redstone 113.
Lenox (365) — Noah Hunter 89, Max DiGrigoli 90, Brendan Hayden 91, Ricky Armstrong 95, Ben Haddad 105, Cliff Flynn 115.
McCann Tech (390) — Cole Kratz 88, Dalton Tatro 99, Ryan Baran 101, Nash Morin 102, Matt Jette 104, Chris Rose 118.
Reach sports writer Howard Herman at 413-496-6253 or @howardherman.
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