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Concord golf earns D-I runner-up honors for first time since 2007

  • The Concord golf team gathers after earning runner-up honors at the Division I Championships on Thursday at The Oaks Golf Links in Somersworth. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • The Concord golf team shows off its hardware after taking second place at the Division I Championships on Thursday at The Oaks Golf Links in Somersworth. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff

  • Concord’s Matthew Hauschild, Sean McDonough (center) and Evan Makris (right) gather with the Division I runner-up plaque after each of the Crimson Tide golfers qualified for the second round of the Individual Championship with a top-20 finish Thursday at The Oaks Golf Links in Somersworth. Jason Orfao / Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Thursday, October 11, 2018

SOMERSWORTH – Nothing was typical for the Concord High golf team on Thursday.

The longest round of the season was accompanied by steady rain, and it unfolded with a Division I championship on the line.

Crimson Tide coach Mark McDonough used the bus ride to make sure his golfers understood the obstacles that awaited at The Oaks Golf Links.

“We talked a lot about the adversity, the challenge of being out there,” McDonough said. “It was a situation where the playing field was going to be level. You have wet gloves, you’re soaked to the bone, your feet are soaked, the ball isn’t going to lay well.

“It’s going to be challenging, but it’s going to be challenging for everybody.”

The Crimson Tide navigated those challenges better than most Thursday, and returned home with a plaque to prove it.

Concord earned runner-up honors in Division I for the first time since finishing second in 2007. Sean McDonough shot a 9-over-par 80 to tie for ninth, while Matthew Hauschild (81) and Evan Makris (82) also finished inside the top 20 to qualify for Saturday’s second round of the Individual Championship at Derryfield Country Club in Manchester.

Bedford was crowned Division I champion for the fifth consecutive year with a team total of 43-over 398 behind the strength of Elliot Wallace (76), CJ LaDue (77), Brady Burke (80), Jonathan Grioux (81) and Owen Roberto (84).

Concord finished 12 shots back with a 55-over 410. Colin O’Brien (83) just missed the cut for Saturday in 21st place after falling short to Londonderry’s Brian Boyle and Exeter’s Kylan Lowery in a three-way playoff. Zack Gamble (84) was the final contributor to Concord’s team score, while Tyler Bruns (87), Matthew Burns (88) and Winsor Bean (88) also played well – especially considering the circumstances.

Coach McDonough admired the mental toughness of his squad.

“It’s important to be able to reset and start your round over again, because it’s 18 holes in this championship match when the normal matches are just nine,” the second-year coach said. “It’s easy when you’re cold, when you’re wet and it’s raining to throw the towel in. Fortunately, our guys did not do that. They just kept battling away and we were able to post five solid scores.

“It wasn’t quite enough to reach some really incredible scores by the Bedford team, who really deserve to be commended,” he added. “Those are pretty incredible scores.”

The Bedford dynasty continues to reign with a sixth title in seven seasons, but Concord’s depth paved the way for the program’s best finish in over a decade.

“The eight kids that came here today, on any given day, any one of those kids can be in and around par, breaking 40 and being a real contributor,” Coach McDonough said. “Obviously, I wish we would have been the champion, but runner-up is something to be really proud of. There were a lot of really great teams and competitors out there.”

Exeter was four shots behind the Tide in third at 414, while Pinkerton (418), Keene (420), Hanover (426), Timberlane (437), Spaulding (439), Alvirne (446) and Nashua North (448) rounded out the field.

Each Concord golfer who advanced to Saturday’s second round of the Individual Championship endured some difficulties, but found a way to turn it around and cement a spot in the top 20.

Sean McDonough “chunked” his first shot on the 141-yard par-3 16th but recovered beautifully with a 3.

“I was able to bounce back and par out from there,” McDonough said. ”I ended up shooting 80, which I was happy with.”

Hauschild could have hung his head after misfiring on a 4-foot par putt on the first hole. Instead he answered with a birdie on the second, and eventually punched his ticket to Derryfield.

“After the second I knew I was going to be in for today,” Hauschild said.

Makris was in danger of missing the cut after a triple bogey on the 374-yard par-4 ninth put him at 43 on the turn. He responded with a par to start the back nine on his way to a 39.

“I think I’m pretty good at resetting,” Makris said. “I try to wait until the other person makes a mistake. I don’t try to outdo what they do.”

Hanover’s Peter Lukovits and Bishop Guertin’s Jack Fitzgerald will share the lead heading into Saturday’s second round after a 75 to best the field of 96.

Makris is slated to be the first local golfer to tee off as the best golfers of all four NHIAA divisions flock to Manchester. Makris has a 10:09 a.m. tee time, while Hauschild (10:18) and McDonough (10:27) will follow in the next two groups.

Division IV champion Hopkinton will be represented by Brandon Boris (11:57), Larsen Burack (12:06 p.m.) and Dan Miner (12:24).

Bow gave the area a second champion when Thursday’s Division III Championship was rained out. With the course deemed unplayable, the title was awarded to the regular-season champion Falcons who finished 21-1 to claim a sixth crown in seven years.

Coach McDonough was happy the Tide golfers had a chance to prove themselves against the top 10 teams from the crowded Division I standings. Bedford was first in the regular season at 16-1, while Concord finished in a tie for second with Exeter at 18-3. Hanover (16-3) and Pinkerton (17-4) were not far behind.

“I’m glad we got a chance to play today,” McDonough said. “It all kind of played out the same way, but I would much rather have that on the golf course than do it by the regular season.”

(Jason Orfao can be reached at jorfao@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @JasonOrfao).