The Bishop Hendricken golf team finished the state tournament on Wednesday at Cranston Country Club with a two-day total of 619, which would have been good enough to win the previous two tournaments.
It just wasn’t enough this year.
Barrington shot an even 600 to win the title, while Portsmouth took second with a 605. The Hawks tipped their hats to those teams and were comfortable in saying they did just about all they could. After shooting a 300 on Tuesday, they came back with a 319 on Wednesday.
“I was really delighted with the number yesterday,” said Hendricken head coach Joe Cichon. “That put us right in the hunt. To be able to do that two days in a row was maybe a little bit too much to ask. They changed the configuration of the course. They moved all the tees back and put the pins in different places. I’m not disappointed at all in our two-day score. It was good to be back in the hunt for the state title.”
Justin Matrone was the top finisher for the Hawks. After ranking fourth on day one with a one-over 72, Matrone struggled on the front nine Wednesday but rallied for a strong back nine to finish with an 80. He finished in a tie for eighth overall with a two-day score of 152.
Barrington’s John Kraunelis won the individual championship with a three-under 139. For the second year in a row, Toll Gate’s Phil Krause was the top finisher from Warwick public schools, shooting a 153 to tie Hendricken’s Brandon Macedo for 10th overall.
For Hendricken, the strong tournament was a nice return to form. In 2010 and 2011, the Hawks missed the cut for the second day of the tournament.
It was clear Tuesday that the Hawks were back.
Matrone, a sophomore, had never played higher than the third spot on Hendricken’s ladder, but he was on fire right from the get-go on Tuesday. Through eight holes, he was four-under.
Eventually, he came back to earth, but only slightly. The 72 was the best round of his life.
“It was shocking to me,” Matrone said. “That was the best round I’ve ever had. I was four-under through eight, and I was just thinking, ‘When is this going to stop?’ I had never been there before. I made three doubles in a row, but I told myself, ‘I can’t lose it now.’ I got a par and kept my composure.”
And Matrone wasn’t the only one coming up big. Garrett Quillen, Brandon Pagliaro and Brandon Macedo each shot a 76. That top four put the Hawks in third place with a 300, four strokes behind Portsmouth and three back of Barrington.
For the first time since 2008, when they finished second, they were in the hunt for the title.
“If you want to start to put the team back in the competitive place where they belong, maybe this year is a first step toward that,” Cichon said.
Day two didn’t go quite as well for the Hawks. Macedo led the way with a 77, while Matrone shot a 43 on the front nine but came back with a 37 on the back to card an 80. Pagliaro and Billy Palmer each shot an 81 to round out the top four.
In 2010 and 2011, the Hawks’ total of 619 would have been the best score of the tourney. Cumberland won with a 624 last year while Barrington took the 2010 title with a 621.
Unfortunately, Barrington and Portsmouth kept rolling on Wednesday. Kraunelis shot a 70, Stephen Miller carded a 76, John Howell had a 78 and Matt Marra shot a 79 for a team total of 303. Combined with the 297, that gave Barrington a two-day total of 600, the best winning score since the Eagles won with a 596 in 2009.
Portsmouth’s top four on Wednesday shot 73, 75, 78 and 83, giving the Patriots a two-day total of 605.
While the Hawks would have liked to come away with the title, being back in the mix was a good step in the right direction, especially considering the team’s youth. Only two of the six players who competed at states are seniors.
The tournament was also a good way to go out for Cichon. The longtime head man is retiring from both teaching and coaching. He’s happy in knowing he’ll be turning over a strong team.
“Most of them will be coming back,” Cichon said. “Out of the top six, four will be back, including Matrone, who shot the best number. Whoever takes the team I think will have a loaded group.”
Aside from Hendricken, the Warwick schools were once again led by Krause, a Toll Gate senior. Last year, he made a splash on day one when he shot a 76 to put him into a tie for fourth. The next day he struggled to a 91 and had to settle for 27th place.
This year was all about consistency. Krause shot a four-over 75 on Tuesday and stayed strong Wednesday, finishing with a 78. The two-day total of 153 tied him for 10th.
“Pretty happy,” Krause said. “You can always say you could play better, but I felt confident in every shot I hit and I felt good about my scores.”
The second day, in particular, was a nice change from last year.
“I had a little stretch where I lost focus up a little bit, but gained it back,” Krause said. “I thought it was pretty good coming back with a 78. It was definitely better than last year. I’ve improved a lot as a golfer over the last year.”
Krause was the only Warwick public school golfer to make the cut. Pilgrim’s Susie Cavanagh was just off the pace with an 82 on Tuesday, three strokes away from the cut. Toll Gate’s Danny Holmes shot a 96.