HB among state golf contenders

There’s been a lot of competition in Division I high school golf this season, but on Thursday all the tournament teams went up against one common foe: the golf course, which is an unknown to many.

The Division I team tournament – which also is the first day of the individual event – was at Hanover Country Club. No teams played it during the regular season, since Hanover is one of the favorites in Division II. That tourney was also Thursday at Breakfast Hill Golf Club in Greenland.

"No one in our division has played (at Hanover) this year which should make the tournament very interesting," Bishop Guertin coach Paul Rousseau said. "It looks like the tournament is wide open. The top teams all scored really well on their home course but not nearly as well on the road."

Guertin (15-5, tied with Winnacunnet for fourth seed), which lost out by a shot last year to Bedford, could be in the Division I mix again. Alvirne (13-7) hopes to do well and of course Nashua North, which got in as the 10th seed, has individual title contender Brandon Gillis.

In Division II, Hollis Brookline (11-10) went in as the 10th seed and hoped to finish higher. But one of the interesting stories locally was Milford’s first tourney appearance in several years. The Spartans finished 9-11 but tied for the last spot.

Campbell (12-8) finsihed tied for the sixth seed with Derryfield and the Cougars looked to be in the mix at Waukewan Golf Club in Center Harbor, where 18-0 Bow was the odds-on favorite.

Guertin, which won the title two years ago, depended on the likes of Tom Ethier, Cam Sheedy and Graham Diack.

"For us to compete we need them to just play their regular game of golf and not get all caught up in the hype of the tournament, where they try so hard it messes with their game," Rousseau said. "Then we still need two more decent scores.

"That is why Bedford (17-1) is favored. They are so deep. Their top six or seven players can come in with low scores, and most teams usually only have two or three players of that caliber."

Alvirne will has some top individuals, including Jess Lortie, who finished fourth in the girls individual tournament last weekend and Jack Brown.

But a lot of eyes were in the individual race, which North’s Gillis, who lost out to Winnacunnet’s Ryan Quinn a year ago, is always a favorite. Quinn and Keene’s Keeton Foster are also seen as contenders.

"He’s playing some of his best golf now," North coach Scott Anderson said of Gillis. "He’s not putting too much pressure on himself."

One of the keys, Anderson said, in both the team and individual tourneys is that the golfers are playing 18 holes instead of the usual regular season nine.

"That could make for some changes," he said.

In Division II, the Cavs have some depth led by players like Jack Shields. Milford, meanwhile, is paced by Evan Ryan. He was a surprise as a sophomore, started slow this fall as a junior but has come on.

"He’s starting to play like he did last year," said Spartans coach Bill Soubosky, who sees Windham’s James McKee as a favorite in the individual race. "It was big for us to make the tournament, as I’m looking toward the future as well as the present. If we can finish in the top 10 and Evan in the top five, I’ll be really happy."

Campbell will look for a good showing led by players such as Trevor Roche and Dillon Mason, who have been playing well lately.

After breaking for a day, the individual tournaments will continue with the second and final round at the same courses on Saturday with another 18 holes in each division.