By Matthew Digiacomo
Golf is a historic game. And Saturday in the District 10 Team Tournament at The Country Club of Meadville, the Meadville boys golf team added to that history.
Led by stellar rounds from Charlie Holt and Zack Ford and a back nine to remember by Dalton Zelasco, the Bulldogs posted a team score of 326 to win the first Class AAA district title in program history. MASH topped Cathedral Prep by 11 strokes, putting a dent in the Ramblers’ stranglehold on the title.
And it started with Holt and Ford.
The duo were paired together in a threesome along with top Rambler Andrew Britton. Both MASH golfers put together solid front nines despite the conditions — cold, windy and wet. They fell back a bit on the back nine, but not enough to ruin their rounds.
Holt posted a 79 to win medalist honors, while Ford’s 81 was good enough to tie Britton for second.
“It was tough,” said Holt. “Not as tough as I thought it would be, but still very tough. I was happy. I was only one-over on the front, then Zack and I kind of fell apart a little on the back.
“But coming in had I known 79 was going to be one of the top two scores I would have been extremely happy.”
With two golfers in, MASH head coach Fred Garvey was not ready to celebrate.
“I didn’t read too much into that,” said Garvey. “Prep is a great team and I knew it took four.”
Zelasco, the Bulldogs’ No. 3 golfer, got off to a rocky start but helped put Garvey at ease.
The junior was hitting the ball solidly, but could not find his putting stroke early on. Zelasco knew a 46 at the turn was not going to cut it and turned up the heat over the next nine holes. As putts started to fall, so did his score. He fired a 36 on the back to finish with a stellar 82.
“The kids played real well,” said Garvey. “Dalton was spectacular. 46 on the front, 36 on the back. That is great in these conditions.”
Mike Bogardus was the final scorer for Meadville with an 84, but Will Malady’s 93 may have been the most important score for the Bulldogs.
With Holt, Ford, Zelasco and Malady already in, Prep and Meadville were waiting on their final golfers to close out the tournament. However, when the last group finished, there was some controversy over whether or not Bogardus was allowed to use his range finder.
The PIAA only allows range finders that give distance and not slope and wind direction. Bogardus was using a GPS range finder, which only gave distance. Cathedral Prep argued that GPS range finders were illegal. A discussion ensued about the mechanism and, if deemed improper, Bogardus could have been disqualified. The Ramblers dropped the argument when it was pointed out that Malady’s score was still enough for the Bulldogs to win by two strokes.
“I am just happy for the kids,” said Garvey. “The whole team, top to bottom, played great.”
In Class AA action, Saegertown was hoping to join Meadville in the win column.
Unfortunately for head coach Brian Hanley, contention was never in the cards. Two of the Panthers top three golfers were unable to play for personal reasons and didn’t even make the trip to The Country Club. Then, shortly into the round, Josh Gionti made a mental mistake and adjust the head on his club.
The move cost the Panthers dearly. Once a round starts, a golfer can not alter any club in his bag. When Gionti made his adjustment, it disqualified him from the competition.
“I knew it was going to be tough,” said Hanley. “And it got tougher as the day went on.”
The remaining four golfers all played hard, but just lacked the experience and were unable to get low enough to lead the team to victory. Greg Beers led the Panthers with a 90, and the team posted a 426 to place fifth.
“I am just disappointed in the fact that 333 won it,” said Hanley. “And we have shot below that six or seven times this year. I am disappointed for the kids because they know they are better than that.”
Harbor Creek won the team title with that 333. The Huskies were led by A.J. Rogers, who fired the low round of the day with a 78. It marked the Huskies first postseason trip as a team.
Titusville finished second with a 350. Matt McCord paced the Rockets with an 81.
West Middlesex (359) and Greenville (369) were third and fourth, respectively.