Jun. 8—After a hot, grueling day at Stanley Golf Course in New Britain, Waterford returned home from the CIAC Division III state championship on Monday while play was still in progress.
Coach Katie Pesko learned later in the afternoon that junior Danny Torres ended up sharing the individual medalist title with Jack Wise of Cromwell, both finishing with a 3-over par 74.
“Danny’s win was definitely a surprise … not going to lie,” Pesko said. “He played very well.”
Torres and the rest of the field battled brutal 90 degree-plus heat while playing 18 holes, nine longer than a typical regular-season match.
“I was pretty surprised, honestly,” Torres said. “I didn’t think I had the low score. Surprisingly, I did. I wasn’t very ecstatic about it, I can’t tell you why. I just had a very mixed reaction about me winning the state tournament. I just felt like practicing after.”
The day took its toll on the Lancers, who were hot, hungry and dehydrated after finishing their round, Pesko said.
“Some of them started not to feel well,” Pesko said. “It was a hot one on the links today. We ended up leaving after we got done playing not even thinking twice that Danny would have a chance to win because a couple of years ago when we played, the winning score was like in the 60s, so he had a great round. We just made the choice to go home and eat.”
Torres overcame a rocky start that saw him lose a ball on the second hole and end up with a double bogey. Then he had a bogey on No. 3, leaving him at 3-over.
He regrouped and recorded 13 pars, a birdie and bogey in the final 15 holes. He avoided any three-putts during his round and relied on his reliable driver.
“I drank a lot of water, so that saved me,” Torres said. “My mentality coming into today was not to get stressed over every shot. … I just kept it real. On the back nine, I was playing very well. I surprised myself.”
Pesko added: “I think he just started to dial in, realizing there was a lot more golf left and he was only through three holes. His mindset just switched to, ‘I know I can play better than this. Let’s actually play the way I know I can play.’ He started to hit beautiful shots. Off the tee, he started striking the ball very well. I think that’s what saved him.”
“… Overall, he played phenomenal. It was the best I’ve seen him play all year. It was nice to see it finally come together. He’s been working with Jimmy Jones at Lake of Isles a lot.”
Torres is heading to Georgia on a golf-related trip on Wednesday, so he will not play in Saturday’s State Open at Black Hall Club in Old Lyme. He looks forward to playing more tournaments in the future.
“I really enjoy playing golf,” Torres said. “It’s been a very uplifting and motivational sport for me.”
Waterford finished seventh in the team standings.
Led by Ethan Lackner (82), Cam Seiffert (82) and Logan Gagnon (83), Killingly took fourth overall. Brandon Tavares (88) had the best score for Stonington, which finished 11th. Bacon Academy was 18th and Wheeler 20th.
St. Joseph won the team title.
In the Division II tournament at Timberlin Golf Course in Berlin, East Lyme’s Logan Rolfe finished tied for fifth place to lead the Vikings to seventh place in the team standings.
Rolfe fired a 2-over 74 in a round that featured three birdies, 10 pars and five bogeys. He stood at 37 through nine, registering consecutive birdies on the third and fourth holes.
“That’s Logan’s best round,” coach Rudy Bagos said. “Logan has played well all year. He’s been great. He’s been probably my most consistent player. … Seventy-four was just great for him. He’s normally a 77-78 kind of guy.
East Lyme’s Matthew Orefice and Dan Singer, the ECC Championship medalist, each had a 78 to tie for 16th while Max Caron shot a 92.
The Vikings posted a team stroke total of 322 on a course that they’ve only played once and finished one spot better than their seed entering the tournament.
“I really can’t complain,” Bagos said. “It was a good season and good kids. I’m going to miss them.”
Woodstock Academy and Fitch finished tied for 14th and 16th overall, respectively. Kyle Brennan led the Centaurs with an 80. Jackson Kramer (87) and Nathan McCormack (88) were the low scorers for the Falcons.
Matthew Doyle of team champion Daniel Hand was the medalist, shooting a 5-under 67 to win by four strokes.