Nashoba Golf Achieves Elusive Win

Published in the October 3, 2007 issue of Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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It was such big news that it was announced over the public address system during the Friday night football game: Nashoba Regional's golf team had finally won a match.

The 29-25 road victory over Gardner on Sept. 20 was not only the first win of the season for the Chieftains, it was also the team's first win since the 2005 season.

“It was very gratifying to get that win,” said head coach Dennis Bean, who had never had a winless season in 37 years of coaching until last year's 0-16 campaign. “The kids were certainly in a celebratory mood.”

And although the outcomes of the two home matches that followed—a 29-25 loss to Shrewsbury on Sept. 25 and 27-27 tie with Westboro a week ago—did not add to the Chieftains' win column, Bean has been more than pleased with his players' efforts against much stronger programs.

“We were very competitive in both matches,” he said. “We certainly had our opportunities.”

Particularly gratifying was the fact that the tie with Westboro cast Nashoba in the role of spoiler, delaying the 7-2-1 Rangers' ability to clinch the Mid-Wach B title.

Still, there's nothing like an honest-to-goodness victory, especially after the drought the Chieftains had endured.

In the win over Gardner, three Chieftain golfers, including Bjorn Burr-Nyberg and Bobby Savino of Stow, won their individual matches against the Wildcats. Burr-Nyberg, playing in the number four spot, won his match 5 ˝ -3 ˝. Savino, playing in the number five spot, won his match 7-2 and was the co-medalist of the day; Savino and teammate Harry Kirkpatrick, who won his match 5 ˝ -3 ˝ in the number one spot, each posted a 39 for the nine-hole, par-36 Gardner Municipal course. Kirkpatrick also medaled against Westboro, shooting a 35 on the par-34 course at Twin Springs in Bolton, where Nashoba plays its home matches.

It's somewhat ironic that Nashoba, which draws from a region that boasts some of the state's top golf courses, has struggled as a team in recent seasons. For his part, Bean theorizes that while the quality of play at Nashoba has been relatively consistent, other schools have improved dramatically in recent years as golf's popularity has soared.

“It used to be that only the nerds played golf,” he said. “But there has been kind of a Tiger Woods phenomenon where suddenly you can play golf and still be pretty cool within high school society.”

Because high school golf utilizes a match-play format, in which each hole played by each pair of golfers is worth one point, a team's success depends primarily on consistency and depth. This, too, has worked against Nashoba in recent seasons, Bean said.

“Having one or two excellent players doesn't necessarily win you anything,” he said. “Our top players have always been a match for anyone but to win now you need to be solid all the way through. We still have good solid teams, but unfortunately for us we've been running into teams that have had more good players. The days when the Nashoba kids could just roll out of bed and win a championship are over now.”

Against Gardner, however, the system worked to the Chieftains' advantage.

“We had several kids play well, and that's really what you need to do based on that format,” Bean said. “The kids realize now that the point the number six golfer gets on the last hole is just as important as the point the number one golfer gets on the first hole.”

Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239