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Pomperaug boys tie for third at state golf championship

Published 10:42 pm, Wednesday, June 11, 2014
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By John Nestor

HARWINTON — Ramsey Kong and the golf teams from New Canaan and Notre Dame-West Haven went home happy after Wednesday’s CIAC Division II Golf Championship at Fairview Farms.

Kong earned medalist honors for the second consecutive season and New Canaan and Notre Dame earned Division II co-state champion honors after tying for low team total.

A junior from North Haven, Kong won medalist honors with a 4-under 68. The defending D-II medalist, Kong got off to a fast start and found the 6,174-yard, par-72 layout to his liking.

New Canaan and Notre Dame-West Haven finished as co-champions after posting scores of 18-over 306. Darien and Pomperaug tied for third at 310 and Avon came in fifth with a total of 314.

Starting his round on No. 15, Kong birdied the hole and followed up with a birdie on the par-5 16th. He bogeyed the 17th to drop back to 1-under but got that stroke right back with a birdie on the par-5 18th.

“I got off to a blistering start,” Kong said. “I had about a one-footer for my first birdie and made about a 10-footer at 16 and I was off.”

Kong bogeyed the first and recorded his first par of the day on No. 2, his sixth hole of the round. He birdied Nos. 3 and 9 on the way in and carded a two on the par-5 sixth. He bogeyed the fourth and seventh and finished his round with five straight pars.

“The conditions were good and the course was in great shape,” Kong said. “After the start I had I felt a little magic happening and I just needed to keep playing because I knew there would be a couple good scores out there.”

New Canaan earned its share of the team title by counting four scores in the 70s led by Justin Clark with a 75. Kyle Finnican and Elias Litchman both signed for a 76 and Chris Tohir had four birdies en route to a 79.

Notre Dame was paced by Eric Austin with a steady 73. Austin had two birdies, three bogeys and 13 pars; Boynton Daniel signed for a 75; while Zach Iannone shot 78 and Andrew Madar carded an 80.

John VanDerLaan of Pomperaug and Brian Carlson of Daniel Hand tied for second behind Kong at even-par 72 and earned spots in the New England Championships along with Kong. VanDerLaan had five birdies on his round and was as low as 2-under after consecutive birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 but he bogeyed 15 and 16 and finished with a pair of pars.

“I played Ok, I didn’t hit that great,” VanDerLaan said. “I was able to make five birdies but I had five bogeys too.”

VanDerLaan was eyeing medalist honors coming in and a possible team title as well with his Panthers having won the D-I title last season at Fairview Farms. Coming in as the top seed and off an unbeaten regular season (16-0, South-West Conference champions), Pomperaug was hoping for a Fairview Farms repeat but came up a little short.

Mike VanDerLaan carded a 74 for Pomperaug and Harold Smith overcame a triple-bogey at No. 8 with a hole-out eagle at the ninth en route to a 78.

“We played pretty well and had a really good season,” Pomperaug coach Rich Szymanski said. “I wish it was a little different today. John and Mike did what they always do and I’m really happy with what we got out of Harold today. It was a pretty impressive performance from a sophomore.”

Division II boys golf championship

at Fairview Farms, Harwinton

Team scores

1. (tie) New Canaan and ND-West Haven 306; 3. (tie) Darien and Pomperaug 310; 5. Avon 314; 6. (tie) Wethersfield and Hand 318; 8. Berlin 326; 9. Guilford 328; 10. East Lyme 335; 11. Masuk 342; 12. North Haven 344; 13. Watertown 347; 14. Barlow 348; 15. RHAM 350; 16. Woodstock Academy 351; 17. East Haven 354; 18. Enrico Fermi 365; 19. E.O. Smith 367; 20. Branford 374.

Individual scores of regional teams

New Canaan: Justin Clark 75, Kyle Finnican 76, Elias Litchman 76, Christoper Tohir 79, Jack Jeffrey 80; ND-West Haven: Eric Austin 73, Boynton Daniel 75, Zachary Iannone 78, Andrew Madar 80, Alexander Ruxer 86; Darien: Mac Koorbusch 76, Christian Ostberg 77, Jack Klingman 78, Sam Knowlton 79, Cameron Van de Graaf 81; Pomperaug: John VanDerLaan 72, Michael VanDerLaan 74, Harold Smith 78, Matthew Van Doren 86, Brendan McCarthy 86; Masuk: Michael Massar 83, Matthew Manjos 85, Ryan Simmeth 85, Andrew Clark 89, Scott Wechter 90; Barlow: Kain Upson 86, Jake Sullivan 87, Michael Brown 87, Grant Worthington 88, Reilly Haughan 91.

Regional individual qualifers: Spencer Olson (Bethel) 81.

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