New Canaan edges Greenwich by six strokes in matchup of unbeatens
Published 4:55 pm, Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Hosting a battle of then-unbeatens, New Canaan golf coach Bill Brown had a winning score of 155 in mind before his Rams teed off against Greenwich on Thursday, May 12.
When his senior co-captain CJ Swift turned in a one-under 34 walking off the final hole at the Country Club of New Canaan, Brown knew his team was in good shape, considering only one Cardinal had played the course before.
The Rams, with a lineup of all seniors on their home course, knocked off Greenwich by six strokes (152-158), handing the Cardinals their first regular season loss since 2009.
"Especially in high school golf, I'm a firm believer in the home course is a several shot advantage for you," said Brown, whose Rams improved to 12-0. "Our home course is a little tricky for other teams to come here and sort of navigate everything, especially with the doglegs and such. We'll take a win against Greenwich any time."
Because of winter damage to part of the front nine, the two teams -- keeping intact handicap rating and a par of 35 - played the first seven holes, No. 11 and No. 18.
Coaching at Greenwich since 2000, Jeff Santilli has been around the course for years and offered what pointers he had.
"I prepped them well enough on what to do on each tee as far as club selection," Santilli said. "They even admitted that they just didn't execute. We didn't play well. You're not going to come to New Canaan, post a high-150 and that's going to be a winning score -- no way."
Swift, who once shot a 32 during a practice round his sophomore year, birdied the first two holes, including an eagle opportunity on No. 2 -- a 515-yard par 5.
Coasting from there, Swift turned in his best score in official competition while co-captain Brian Tohir, playing in the same group, shot a 38.
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"For my three years playing against Greenwich, it's always been hyped up," Swift said. "It's good to come out on top."
Partnered with Swift in the first group, freshman Paul Pastore shot a 40 for Greenwich (14-1), which survived a similar test against then-undefeated Ridgefield a week ago by two strokes (162-164) at the Griff.
With the Chappa, Holohan and FCIAC tournaments remaining in addition to matches against Darien and defending league champion Staples, Santilli hopes the mid-season loss will refocus his team -- something that had been missing in 2010.
New Canaan will play a similar slate in the upcoming weeks.
"We know that it doesn't mean a lot," Brown said. "It's nice to beat Greenwich because they're always one of the best teams, but we're all going to be in the playoffs and we're all going to see each other again."
New Canaan's unbeaten streak came to an end at the hands of unbeaten rival Darien on Monday.