Division II golf: Brady’s Von Svoboda makes cut as team finishes seventh
The long putts weren’t dropping for Alex Von Svoboda, and the Bishop Brady senior didn’t shoot as low as he wanted during yesterday’s Division II golf championship. Still, Von Svoboda carded the second-lowest score of the day at Beaver Meadow Golf Course, a 4-over par 76.
“I didn’t have any one putts, or up-and-downs, but I didn’t hit any into the woods, either,” Von Svoboda said. “So I would say that was a pretty good day.”
The rest of the Green Giants didn’t fare so well on their home course, shooting a 433 to finish in seventh. Brady took fifth in 2012, was sixth in the regular-season standings this season and had high hopes heading into the event.
“I don’t think we played to the best of our potential today, not with it being here,” Von Svoboda said. “Seventh wasn’t really the finish we were looking for.”
Windham’s Connor Greanleaf, the defending D-II individual champion, shot a 73 to lead the Jaguars (395) to the team title ahead of St. Thomas (407) and Hanover (412). Portsmouth’s Tom Hixon, last year’s day-one medalist, tied Von Svoboda’s 76, and Con-Val’s Ben Wescott shot a 77 to place fourth. Those four will be in the final group (9:48 a.m. tee time) for tomorrow’s individual championship at Beaver Meadow.
“It will be interesting to play with all of them,” said Von Svoboda, who was sixth in last year’s individuals. “I think I have a chance at winning. If I strike the ball like I did today, and make a couple of putts, I could definitely do it, but we’ll see.”
“Alex is the type of kid where he can shoot a 71, and with a 76 it would probably take a 71 to get in there, but it’s certainly doable,” Brady Coach Ken Gauthier said. “On the other hand, a kid like Connor Greanleaf can shoot a 68, and then it won’t matter what anybody else does. I just hope Alex matches a 76 or better. If he comes in 74 or 75, he may have a shot at the top three, and that would be pretty exciting.”
The two other local golfers who qualified for tomorrow’s round were John Stark senior Zach Hellings (78) and Coe-Brown sophomore Ryan Oliver (81).
“I didn’t get myself in trouble much off the tee and I hit my irons really well,” Hellings said. “I was on the green in regulation most of the time except for 10 – I had a rough hole and doubled it – but other than that I just had a great day.”
Hellings, whose father Rich is one of the Generals co-head coaches, becomes just the second Stark golfer to qualify for the individual tournament. Joe Bowker was the first to do it in 2011.
“It feels good because it’s my senior year, last year on the team, and I made it,” Hellings said. “And Saturday, I just want to have fun.”
Oliver came into the day with high expectations – “I wanted to get around a 77, or high 70s, I knew that would make the cut,” he said. But after two double bogeys in first four holes, he re-calibrated his goal to an 80, and he nearly made it there with a dramatic finish on his final two holes.
“On the next-to-last hole, my putt for birdie went in the hole, hit the metal and bounced out,” Oliver said. “So then I knew I had to get a birdie on the last hole to make the cut and so I hit my drive, hit a nice 9-iron on the green and then drained a 30-footer for birdie.”
Brady’s Nick Vermette (87), Connor Gagnon (89), Alex Thompson (90) and Brendan Bryck (91) were the Giants top scorers behind Von Svoboda.
“I think sometimes they took too much aggression on the shots and the angles, and maybe they think the course owes them something because it’s their home course,” Gauthier said. “But I’m not disappointed with them. I just hope they feel good about themselves and I think for the most part they do. I know that Alex and Nick really wanted to make the cut, and I’m sure they’re disappointed in themselves, and it’s hard to watch that as a coach.”
Other local golfers who participated were Pembroke’s Casey Gut (87) and Bobby Andrews (94), Merrimack Valley’s Jesse Demers (88) and Nicco Vizzietto (92), Coe-Brown’s Joel Bolanger (91) and John Stark’s Ben Guilmette (92).
(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at 369-3341 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @timosullivan20.)