Letterle paces West with a ninth-place finish at states
The Cranston West golf team had envisioned a stronger state tournament for itself last week, but the Falcons missed the day one cut by two strokes and saw their dreams of competing for a state title come to a close.
Yet, individually, the Falcons still had something at stake on day two.
Three West players made the cut after shooting in the 70’s in Tuesday’s first round. While two of them faded some on the second day, senior Steven Letterle stepped up to a shoot a 77, good enough to give him a tie for ninth place in the state.
“It was pretty good,” Letterle said. “My putting was a little off. The greens were a little slow. I looked at a lot of putts that came up just a revolution short. Other then that, I hit the ball very well.”
Letterle fired a 78 on the first day, giving him a two-day total of 155. Barrington’s Dave Kraunelis was the overall champion with a 147, while Portsmouth’s Jake Bauer was second with a 149. Barrington also won the team title with a two-day score of 606. Bishop Hendricken came in second with a 629.
The other West players who made the cut were Corey Patalano and Alex Greenwood, who shot matching 79’s on the first day to sneak into Wednesday’s field. On the second day, they didn’t fare quite as well, as Patalano shot an 85 and Greenwood shot an 86.
Letterle, though, was right in the mix.
He fired a 39 on the front nine of the second day, which included a birdie on the second hole in which he drained a long putt fully across the green.
Playing in the rain, Letterle was focused on putting up a good score early to put some pressure on the leaders. He did that, but unfortunately for him the rain let up as the day went on, and the leaders were able to play in much better conditions.
“They lucked out with the weather because it turned out to be nice, but I figured if I could put up a good score in the rain – we played the front nine in the rain – that I could be in a good position,” he said.
Still, Letterle continued to play well. He shot a 38 on the back nine, including birdieing the 13th hole.
“It’s nice to get a top 10,” Letterle said.
Last season, Letterle shot the exact same scores on both days – 78-77 – and finished in 15th place. With tougher conditions this year, he was rewarded with a better finish.
Letterle was the top Cranston West finisher at the state tournament since Tom Kirinsky in 2006. Kirinsky also finished in a tie for ninth, with a two-day score of 154.
By virtue of Letterle’s spot in the top 12, Letterle also qualified for the New England Interscholastic Golf Championship, which will be played at Bretwood Golf Course in Keene, N.H. A date has not yet been set.
“I’m going to try to win it,” Letterle said.
In addition to his performance at states, Letterle was also named Second-Team All-Central Division for his play during the regular season, along with teammates Ryan Perry and Josh Macera.
Patalano, the team’s No. 1 player all year, was named to the First-Team. Douglas Forte earned Third-Team honors.
As a team, West shot a 322 on day one, whereas 320 was the qualifying number. The Falcons used the scores of Patalano, Letterle and Greenwood, as well as an 86 from Macera.
During the regular season, West finished at 11-3, good for second place in the Central Division. It lost two matches to Hendricken and another to East Greenwich.
The season marked the fourth consecutive season that West has qualified for the state tournament as a team.