By Pete Chiodo
CONNEAUT LAKE —
Led by Andrew Britton’s 1-under-par 71, each of Cathedral Prep’s top six golfers turned in scores under 80 as the Ramblers rolled in a Region 7 mega match at Oakland Beach Golf Club on Thursday.
Prep finished with a team score of 298. That was 24 strokes better than second place McDowell (322).
Host Conneaut was third at 333.
That finish places the Eagles in a tie for third place in Region 7 with General McLane, which came in fourth yesterday with an overall score of 340.
With two region mega matches down and four to go, Conneaut and McLane both have seven points in the region standings. General McLane took third this past Tuesday in a Region 7 mega match at J.C. Martin Golf Course in Erie while Conneaut was fourth.
“It’s our home course, It’s definitely an advantage,” Conneaut head coach Bob Slevin said about Oakland Beach. “Our kids play the course so much. They know how to calibrate their irons and their drivers. They know to stay below the hole, not above the pin.”
Eagles junior Ryan Santarelli, in particular, seemed to be enjoying those familiar surroundings, shooting a 75 to lead the team.
“A 75, that feels great,” said Santarelli, who said 75 was the lowest he’s ever shot at the course. “It used to be 77.”
Santarelli’s score was the result of a wild front nine, which included two bogies, a birdie on the par 4 No. 2, and an eagle on the par 5 No. 5.
“My first eagle ever,” said Santarelli. “I hit my driver real strong, I was 50 yards behind the rock (the 150-yard marker). Then I hit my six iron and it landed about five feet from the pin. Then I putted it in. ... It was a long five feet.”
Santarelli was joined on the leaderboard by teammate Kyler Betts with an 81, Cole Baker with an 85 and Damian Granda with a 92.
Yet, even with the home course advantage, the Eagles could not threaten Cathedral Prep. And especially not Britton, who sizzled through the front nine with a 6-under-par 30 before coming back down to Earth with a 41 on the back.
“I’d prefer if you’d just focus on the front nine,” Britton joked after the round, his first at Oakland Beach.
Britton’s hot half began on the No. 2 when he sunk a 13-footer for birdie. He then followed it up with a two-putt birdie on 5; birdied the par 3 No. 6; eagled the 570-yard No. 7 with a 40-yard chip-in; then made it four holes under par in a row with a birdie on No. 8.
Then he made the turn.
“It wasn’t nerves on the back nine. I just hit a lot of unlucky shots,” said Britton.
He ended up behind a tree on 11 and had to chip out and ended up with his first bogey of the day. He had his approach knocked away by an overhanging tree on 15; rolled a putt off the green on 17; then tangled with the rough on 18 to finish his day with a double bogey.
“It was the worst I’ve ever felt while being under par,” he said.
Britton was followed by teammates Ryan Podufal (75), Jack Kelly (76) and Jack Kloecker (76). The Ramblers’ fifth and sixth golfers, Evan Wronek and Jordan Henry, shot a 78 and 79 respectively.
Other low scores on the day belonged to McDowell’s Austin Lent with a 75, and his teammate Ryder Grignol with an 81.
General McLane was led by Noah Pfeiffer’s 81.