NEW BRITAIN — It wasn’t an optimistic weather forecast by any means first thing Monday morning, but the Greenwich boys golf team was making the trek to Stanley Golf Course regardless.
The start of the Division I state tournament was pushed two hours back and turned into a shotgun start. The heavy rains eventually ended, allowing the state’s best to shine.
None were better than Greenwich junior Jackson Fretty. He fired a 3-under-par 68 at Stanley GC to not only earn medalist laurels, but to also lead Greenwich to the Division I team championship.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t great to have the best player in the state on your team,” Greenwich coach Jeff Santilli said. “We knew to win the FCIAC Championship, he would have to go sub-par and he did, and to have a chance here at states, he would have to go below par and he did.”
Santilli has now won three Division I titles in 19 seasons at the helm. And at all three, the team didn’t play a practice round before showing up.
It wasn’t intentional this time around — the Cardinals’ scheduled practice round at Stanley GC May 19 was canceled due to rain.
“With that philosophy, I think my guys paid a little more attention on the tee boxes,” Santilli said. “They have no bad memories if they hit a bad shot on a hole, so they go into it with a good thought process, pick your target and try to execute.”
Fretty was coming off his career-best round — a 6-under 65 at the Fairchild Wheeler GC Black Course at the FCIAC championship meet. He finished Monday with four birdies and a bogey.
“If someone told me before the start of the postseason, ‘Hey, do you want to sign up for 9-under between these two tournaments?’ I would have said yes in a heartbeat,” Fretty said. “I’m just super-happy for our team and our coach. He really covets state titles because he knows hard it is to win it.”
Greenwich’s 9-over 293 cumulative total was four strokes better than fellow FCIAC foe Darien.
“Our kids were looking to prove that’s not who they really were (fourth at FCIAC meet) and they played great. Greenwich just played better,” Darien coach Tom O’Donnell said. “There’s a difference between losing and getting beat. We got beat.”
Both the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference and the Connecticut State Golf Association, which helps the CIAC run the events, determined before play began Monday that all players would be able to lift, clean and replace all shots, except in bunkers, throughout the round due to the soggy conditions.
“There was standing water on the putting green when we got here,” O’Donnell said.
Benjamin Ropiak finished at even-par 71 for Greenwich and will join Fretty at the State Open on Saturday at the Black Hall Club in Old Lyme. It’s the first time Connecticut is offering this tournament.
Darien’s Alex Gu will also be going to the State Open and the New England championship meet later this month after shooting a 71. Joining that trio will be Xavier’s Chris Fosdick, who finished at 1-under 70 to qualify for both meets.
Fosdick, a junior from Middlefield, aced the seventh hole — playing a few yards shorter than the 117 on the scorecard — then almost holed out again on the 163-yard 12th, leaving a tap-in birdie.
“It was 107 yards and a little uphill. I used a gap wedge. It landed behind the hole, spun back and went in. On the 11th hole, I hit a pitching wedge about a yard past pin high right and it spun back. It was close,” Fosdick said. “I played well other than the par-5s, so I can’t be too upset.”
Fretty was playing in the same group with Fosdick.
“It looked like the same shot again,” Fretty said about the 11th hole. “We thought it was going in again. It was like déjà vu.”
Said Xavier coach Mike Kohs: “He’s been unbelieveable. You can lock him in for even par or better. It doesn’t matter where the event is, what the weather is like, good conditions or poor conditions, it doesn’t matter. He’s an unbelievably solid player.”
Fosdick made one other birdie (12) and three bogeys. Kevin Lynch posted a 78 to help the Falcons, the defending champions, finish sixth.
“There’s a lot of great scores on that board today,” Kohs said. “Chris played well but overall, you need to have four guys on their A game and we just didn’t have it, which is disappointing because we had a super year.”””
Conard placed third (298), followed by Simsbury (299) and Fairfield Prep (306), which avenged a loss to Xavier in last week’s SCC championship meet.
Hamden’s Alex Aurora, last year’s Division I medalist, shot 72 to tie for fifth that included Fairfield Prep’s Will Mallek, the SCC’s co-medalist with Fosdick. Shelton’s Kyle St. Pierre shot a 3-over 74 to tie for 10th.
Division I championship
(at Stanley GC, New Britain)
Team results: 1. Greenwich, 293; 2. Darien, 297; 3. Conard, 298; 4. Simsbury, 299; 5. Fairfield Prep, 309; 6. Xavier, 312; 7. Staples, 315; 8. Hall, 321; 9. Glastonbury, 322; 10. New Canaan, 324; 11. Trumbull, 327; 12. Manchester and Southington, 328; 14. Hamden, 329; 15. Fairfield Ludlowe, 333; 16. Ridgefield, 336; 17. Farmington, 338; 18. Shelton, 340; 19. Cheshire, 342; 20. South Windsor, 353.
Jackson Fretty (Greenwich), 68; Chris Fosdick (Xavoer), 70; Alex Gu (Darien), 71; Ben Ropiak (Greenwich), 71; Luke Carroll (Conard), 72; Matt Chorches (Conard), 72; Will Mallek (Fairfield Prep), 72; Alex Aurora (Hamden), 72; Calvin Smith )Darien), 73; Kyle St. Pierre (Shelton), 74; Cameron Hosack (Glastonbury), 74; Will Wilson (Darien), 74; John Bosworth (Simsbury), 74.