Last spring, the Cheshire High School boys’ golf team finished runner-up in the Southern Connecticut Conference and Division I Championship matches.
After having another year to work on their skills and course management, the Rams have found their way to the top. On May 30, CHS tied Daniel Hand for first place (315) in the SCC event at The Farms Country Club.
On Monday at Tallwood Country Club in Hebron, Cheshire brought home the D-I crown for the first time since 1999.
“I think we definitely had confidence after winning the SCC,” said senior AJ DePaolo, a co-captain with junior Jack Brewster. “We were playing against a lot of the same teams at states.”
CHS shot a 316 to win the D-I title by five strokes over Bristol Central.
“Going into the last hole, Coach (Dan) Lee told me what we had for scores, so I had an idea how to approach it,” explained DePaolo. “After finishing the 18th hole, I knew that we had done it.”
Individually, DePaolo posted a 71 to finish just one stroke behind Guilford sophomore champion Andrew Beauton.
“I played well. I had small mistakes, but I was focused on how we did as a team,” reflected DePaolo.
Sophomores Dylan Gillotti (78) and Jack DeJoseph (81), along with Brewster (85), followed DePaolo as Cheshire scorers. Senior Sam Gravel added a 97.
Maloney was also in contention Monday at Tallwood. Leading the way for the Spartans was senior Dylan Miller. The Meriden city champion placed eighth in Division I with a round of 78.
The Spartans also got an 88 from Nathan Camire and a 99 from Brady Camire.
Maloney placed 15th as a team with a cumulative score of 364.
“It feels good to win the championship,” said DePaolo. “After we finished second in the SCC and states last year, we talked about cutting down on our mistakes in matches. By minimizing those things, we’ve had a great season.”
In having the FCC as their home course, DePaolo felt that the Rams had an advantage going into the SCC Championship.
“It was huge. We feel like we know it like the back of our hand,” stated DePaolo. “We knew that we should be confident going into it.”
For that match, DePaolo earned medalist and tied for the lowest score (69) in the history of the event. Back in 2002, Cheshire’s Dan Day also recorded a 69 at the New Haven Country Club.
“It feels really good,” reflected DePaolo. “I made some small mistakes, but it is good to be in the same category with Dan.”
“It (the title) shows the hard work he does on a daily basis,” added Lee, of DePaolo. “He manages himself on every round and that speaks volumes to his work ethic as a person.”
Gillotti and DeJoseph both secured a 79 in the SCC event, while Brewster posted a 88. Gravel had a 91.
“We all chipped in together,” said DePaolo. “There were times when I and other guys didn’t play well, but people picked them up.”
In tying Daniel Hand for first place, Cheshire contributed to the first SCC co-championship in 13 years.
“Coming in, we knew it would be a difficult tournament for us. The greens were moving quick and there was wind, especially on the first nine (holes),” explained Lee. “The guys were familiar with the course, although, I don’t think we had played the back nine in a match all year.”
With the title, the Cheshire athletic program did set a new record for SCC crowns (nine) in a single school year. Amity (2005-06, 2015-16) and Daniel Hand (2017-18) had previously claimed eight championships.
“It feels awesome,” reflected DePaolo. “Our school has had a great year athletically. It shows the level of determination at our school and how important athletics are.”
To finish his season on Saturday, DePaolo will visit Old Lyme’s Black Hall Club for the State Open at 1 p.m. After graduation, he will continue his playing career at Fordham University in New York.