Club Golf ends their spring session strong

Matt GadSports Writer

The golf club recently wrapped up its spring season, finishing third in an invitational tournament at Oxford Greens and second at Gillette Ridge Country Club in Trumbull.

Senior John Zoppi said when he reflects on his season, he is happy with the results.

“We played pretty well in both,” Zoppi said. “And coming in second [at Gillette] was a great accomplishment because it’s one of the toughest courses in the state.”

The team, which qualified for nationals in previous seasons, features five seniors Zoppi, Dominick Rello, Zac Parente, Matt Zampano and Peter Grant and juniors Trent Kaisen and Drew Griffith.

“We lost a few guys so we didn’t have many players, but I’m very proud coming in second and third this semester. We hope to get more players and contend again next semester,” Rello said.

When adviser Jonathan Wharton took ahold of the squad, the roster was 20 players deep. But after this year, when Rello, Parente and Zoppi are lost to graduation the goal will be to recruit at least four new players.

“The team used to be much bigger,” Wharton said. “It’s mostly sophomores and juniors, a couple [of] new guys,” he said.

They practice regularly, for either nine or 18 holes, at Tashua Knolls in Trumbull or Traditions in Wallingford, and have two sessions a year: one in the fall that runs throughout October and November and the other in the spring, which goes through March and April.

“We want to get [the team] back to double digits,” Wharton said.

But despite the numbers, Parente said the team chemistry has been good and that everyone has “gotten to know each other pretty well.”

“It doesn’t matter who plays together since we all have fun. We’re not a huge team but I definitely think we’re close,” he said.

The team wants to get back to two national tournaments, one per semester, to mix in with the pair of invitationals they have in both the fall and the spring, competing in the National Collegiate Club Golf Association.

“We always want to win both tournaments,” Parente said. “But it’s tough being a small team. We played [at] some pretty tough courses and I think we’re satisfied with how we played.”

Parente and Zampano are typically the team’s leading scorers, shooting in the 70s, Wharton said, and Parente said Zoppi has “played some really solid golf this semester.”

Zoppi has completed 15 tournaments to date, with a low round of 80 and an average score of 92.86.

Parente has played in twelve, made eight all-tournament teams and averaged a score of 78.52.

As for Zampano, the senior athletic training major played in thirteen tournaments, shooting a low round of 77 and averaging out at 90.8.

Back in the 1980s, golf was an NCAA Division II sport on Southern’s campus, along with several others, like wrestling, that were cut out of the program by the athletic department shortly thereafter.

Before coming to Southern, Wharton previously advised the club at Stevens Institute of Technology, a school from Hoboken, N.J, which still has a Division II program.

But despite golf being a club sport, the team still spends a lot of time together and has bonded throughout the year.

“Our chemistry is great,” Rello said. “We are always together on and off the course, so that plays a huge role. We are all good friends and we have a lot of fun playing together.”

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