The conditions didn’t cooperate with the golfers at Alpine Country Club in Demarest, but the Watchung Hills High School boys golf team tamed the course to finish first in the North 2 Group IV Sectional Tournament Monday morning.
Watchung Hills head coach Sean Mealey said the scores carded by his golfers weren’t typical of their ability, but it was the best they could do at Alpine.
“We were pleased to escape,” Mealey said. “With the scores that were coming in, we were hoping to squeak by in second.”
The Warriors’ foursome of Luke and Mike Graboyes, Alex Pomerantz and Ben Lerner finished with a team score of 335, nine strokes clear of second-place Livingston. The two schools will continue their seasons at next Monday’s Tournament of Champions.
Local contender Hunterdon Central finished one shot off a spot on the podium, coming in at 347.
Luke Graboyes led Watchung Hills with a 73, but he was the only one on his squad that put up a score that Mealey is used to seeing.
“The greens were extra fast and the kids struggled,” he said. “Luke was the exception today, everybody else was pretty high. But, we can always count on Luke; nothing fazes him.”
Mike Graboyes and Pomerantz each carded an 86 and Lerner finished with a 90. Regardless of their scores, Mealey knows that winning the sectional for the second straight season is something to be proud of.
“It’s a great win, two years in a row now,” Mealey said. “It’s a great accomplishment for our school.”
Dominic Diaz of Bridgewater-Raritan, Brad Lankler of Westfield and Jack Panagos of Hillsborough all fired rounds of 82 to advance to the Individual T of C.
Other local winners
New Providence finished 37 shots behind Metuchen in the Central Group I, but the Pioneers qualified for the T of C. Sam Villagrassa led the way with an 81, followed closely by Kevin Haggerty (82) and Ben Keller (83). Davis Berry rounded out the New Providence lineup with a 93.
In North 2 Group II, two locals advanced to the T of C as individuals. Sean Keane of Governor Livingston and Dan O’Rourke of Delaware Valley recorded scores of 78 and 79 respectively to move on to next Monday’s event.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood recorded a team-score of 329, six strokes clear of second-place Millburn in North 2 Group III.
On the girls side of the tournament, Montgomery took first place in the South Jersey Sectional with a team-score of 335. The Cougars finished two shots clear of Red Bank Catholic for the title.