Portland’s powerhouse boys golf program won the Division IV state championship for the third straight year Monday, shooting five strokes better than runner-up Immaculate of Danbury at Timberlin Golf Club.
Highlanders coach Joe Santavenere said this particular title was “a total team effort,” and he wasn’t kidding. His top player, senior captain John Lucas, shot 84, but his teammates lifted their games just enough for what has become a June rite of Portland bringing a CIAC trophy back across the Arrigoni Bridge.
Senior captain and No. 3 player Stephen Vincelette shot a 5-over 77 to tie for second in a field of 97 players. His score gave Portland the extra charge needed in this setting, where each five-player team’s four best scores are used toward stroke total.
“Team effort was kind of the theme all year — different guys stepped up in different matches,” Santavenere said. “If someone didn’t play well, someone played well for them. Stephen had a great day all around. He played well on both nines.”
Portland’s No. 2 player, sophomore Ben Kelley, shot 80 to tie for fifth, and No. 4 Bryce Cote shot 84, giving Portland 325 strokes. Old Saybrook was third with 333, Old Lyme fourth (337) and Coventry fifth (344). Cromwell, one of Portland’s Shoreline Conference opponents, was 12th with 361.
Vincellette’s 77 matched Kyle Savino of Old Saybrook as individual runner-up. Notre Dame of Fairfield’s Anthony Bouvier won the title with a 1-over- 73.
“I just had this great feeling my teammates were going to do well today,” said Vincellette, who made three birdies on the front nine and said conditions improved as the day wore on. He shot 86 last year at Crestbrook Park in Watertown, which counted toward Portland’s repeat.
“To win again is a great feeling. Tradition is the way to go. The team just did a great job this year. We proved ourselves today,” he said.
Entering the tournament, Santavenere said his players believed they had a standard to uphold.
“The guys worked so hard this year, and they wanted to carry that torch and continue that tradition,” the coach said. “They just worked, always went out and played more after practice, spent some time together playing on weekends.
“Just to see the satisfied looks on their faces when they stepped off the course, knowing that they gave everything and the work had paid off, it was just great.”
This season was the second straight in which Portland did not win the Shoreline Conference title and Coginchaug did. The Blue Devils finished third Monday in the Division III tournament at Tallwood in Hebron, where Tyler Woodward won the individual title with a 5-under 67, six shots than any other player
“I don’t want to say not winning the Shoreline was a wake-up call, because it wasn’t like we didn’t put in an effort and got knocked off,” Santavenere said. “We were able to go for another title today, and we got it done.”
Division IV Golf championship
(at Timberlin GC, Kensington)
1. Portland 325 (+37); 2. Immaculate 330 (+42); 3. Old Saybrook 333 (+45); 4. Old Lyme 337 (+49); 5. Coventry 344 (+56); 6. Gilbert 349 (+61); T7. North Branford 350 (+62); T7. Notre Dame-Fairfield 350 (+62); 9. Holy Cross 351 (+63); T10. Morgan 359 (+71); T10. Somers 359 (+71); 12. Cromwell 361 (+73); 13. St. Paul Catholic 369 (+81); 14. Sacred Heart 389 (+101); 15. Griswold 393 (+105); 16. Housatonic Regional 409 (+121); 17. Windsor Locks 414 (+126); 18. East Granby 425 (+137); 19. Stafford 428 (+140)
1. Anthony Bouvier, Notre Dame-Fairfield 73 (+1); T2. Kyle Savino, Old Saybrook 77 (+5); T2. Stephen Vincelette, Portland 77 (+5); 4. Dan LeBlanc, Immaculate 79 (+7); T5. Dylan Keith, Gilbert 80 (+8); T5. Paul Zumbo, North Branford 80 (+8); T5. Dominic Manning, Somers 80 (+8); T5. Ben Kelley, Portland 80 (+8); T5. Jack Woods, Immaculate 80 (+8); T10. Corey Drummond, Old Lyme 81 (+9); T10. Kyle Camello, Coventry 81 (+9); T12. Jacob Nuebig, North Branford 82 (+10)