Doug Champagne realized something as his team was being awarded its second straight championship plaque at the end of his freshman season.
Bow had just beaten its closest challenger by a convincing 31 strokes at the Division III championship at Moultonborough’s Ridgewood Country Club, and with two of its top four scorers set to return in 2014, the first-year standout knew there’d be opportunity for more.
But how much more, Champagne said, surprised even him. He and his Falcons teammates went on to win three more D-III titles over the next three years, compiling a win streak that now spans over 120 straight matches. Bow’s fifth straight title this past October surpassed the 1981-84 Hanover Marauders for the most consecutive titles in state history.
“I never like realized how good our team really was until states that first year,” Champagne said of his freshman season. “We won by like over 30 strokes and after that our team took off and never lost. That’s pretty incredible. Not a lot of teams can say they’ve done that.”
Individually, Champagne is no slouch either.
The three-time All-State golfer has consecutive individual titles on his resume as well, thanks to an eight stroke-victory this past October at Meredith’s Waukewan Golf Club in what was his final high school match. Champagne carded a 3-over par 75 during his first 18 holes of the individual tournament, before using a four-birdie round to better that mark with a 74 in his second and final round.
And while Champagne admitted he certainly didn’t mind ending his high-school career with a second straight individual title, it’s the four team titles – and specifically the final one – he said he will remember most.
“Playing together as a team, you need everyone pulling together in the same direction to be successful, so I think that’s more gratifying,” said Champagne, whose team bested runner-ups Lebanon by 11 strokes to clinch its most recent title. “We had talked about getting that fifth championship in a row all year, and just knowing in the end that we won felt great. It was such a great feeling.”
Champagne – who is also an All-State hockey player for the Falcons having helped lead his team the way to the Division II title game last winter – said his first memories playing golf were as an 8-year-old with his grandfather down in Georgia. He said he entered his first tournaments at the age 12, and hasn’t looked back since.
And while Champagne said he’s not one to hit up his coach for pointers on his swing or grip, he credited Bow coach Mike Seraikas and the rest of his Falcons teammates for helping to keep the mental aspect of his game in check, which is something he said he’ll miss at the next level.
“My coach is always trying to keep the mental aspect of my game strong, and that’s the same with my teammates,” he said. If I get down on myself during a bad hole or a bad round, they can always keep me motivated.”
He said he’s been in contact with several college coaches, but is leaning toward attending Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., in the fall.
In the meantime, Champagne can likely be found swinging a different kind of club on the ice.
“They’re completely different sports in a scene with the mindset required, but I’d say they’re equally as fun,” he said comparing golf and hockey.