Greenwich Academy golfers cap off perfect season with N.E. title

Members of the Greenwich Academy golf team pose for a photo after winning the Pippy O’Connor Independent School Girl’s Golf Classic. From left are Susana Vik, senior captain Phoebe Morison, senior captain Camilla Vik, Rachel Oates, Hope Matthews, Caroline Zhao and Jessica Yacabucci.

Members of the Greenwich Academy golf team pose for a photo after winning the Pippy O’Connor Independent School Girl’s Golf Classic. From left are Susana Vik, senior captain Phoebe Morison, senior captain Camilla Vik, Rachel Oates, Hope Matthews, Caroline Zhao and Jessica Yacabucci.

It’s hard to do it any better than the Greenwich Academy golf team did this year.

After coming off two consecutive seasons where the Gators have come up just short in their quest for a New England championship, losing to Taft School both times, GA was more determined than ever to get the program back on top.

Not only did Greenwich Academy do that, but they did it in grand fashion, going 18-0 overall, finishing 8-0 in the Fairchester Athletic Association and capturing the team’s first New England golf title since 2008 by winning the Pippy O’Connor Independent School Girl’s Golf Classic in Canton, Mass.

“I knew going into the year that we were going to be a strong team,” Greenwich Academy head coach Patrick Dwyer said. “I am lucky because I have a lot of girls that like to play tournament golf. Although golf in New England in spring isn’t the best and going match play, I still knew I have a lot of girls that are experienced golfers. Our depth was amazing. To have experienced golfers, golfers that have played tournament golf and to have the flexibility to shake up the lineup a bit and not miss a beat was so valuable.”

For Greenwich Academy, it was easy to see how determined the team was during the New England championships, although winning the championship didn’t come easy.

In the team competition, GA’s aggregate score of 319 topped the leaderboard, with defending champion Taft finishing second.

“This is our first title since 2008 and we are proud to be one of the New England title holders at Greenwich Academy,” Dwyer said. “It’s really an honor to win that tournament. There are about 75 girls from about 28 schools in the region and there is a lot of good girls golfers in these prep schools. It’s a good venue. Doing well at this tournament is good because it’s something college coaches pay attention to.”

Individually, senior Camilla Vik won the overall title, shooting an impressive 1-under par 71 at the Blue Hill Country Club. Not far behind Vik was her younger sister Susana Vik, who took second place overall in New England by netting a 4-over par 76. Hope Matthews also had a stellar championships, finishing with an 11-over par 83.

Rachel Oates and Caroline Zhao both carded an 89, which made Greenwich Academy’s low four scores 71, 76, 83 and 89.

“I think it meant a lot to them to win because we lost closely to Taft the past two years,” Dwyer said. “We went up Sunday night and walked the course a little bit and the girls took some notes, which I think helped them. They were a motivated group of girls. For everything to come together and to have three really good rounds to anchor our score really meant a lot.”

Overall this season, Greenwich Academy has been light’s out. While they won 18 straight and captured the New England title, the top six golfers on the team has dominated the competition. Susana Vik and Oates each finished with 15-0 records on the season. Matthews and Zhao were also perfect, each grabbing 12-0 individual record. Jessica Yacobucci also didn’t lose this season, but she halved a match, making her record 14-0-1 on the season. Camilla, playing every opponent’s top golfer this season, finished with a 14-1-1 mark.

That mean the Gators compiled a team record of 82-1-2 on the season.

“Camilla started off at the No. 1 spot and that was pretty much set,” Dwyer said. “Nobody really reached that. But from No. 2 through No. 7, we had some girls that could play at different spots and still be very competitive.”

Dwyer knew that Camilla Vik was going to have a breakout season during last season’s FAA championship, when she won the title on a very wet and rainy day, which led to poor course conditions.

“She still shot a 37 and that was very good and she was really focusing,” Dwyer said. “A couple of weeks later, she qualified for the USGA Junior Girls Tournament and that was a big step up in terms of being successful at the national level. She came right in and was very consistent right from the start of the year.”

With Camilla Vik dominating almost everybody she competed against this season, competing in match play format came very easy for Greenwich Academy.

“You need three points to win and if I am one of those four girls playing and I know our No. 1 player has a really good shot at earning that point, you really want to play well to be a part of the mix,” Dwyer said. “I know it’s a huge motivating factor because the No. 1 golfers go off first and if I’m playing No. 2 or No. 3 and see Camilla walk off the course after the sixth hole, I know we got a point on our side.”

While Camilla Vik has been strong with the clubs this year, Dwyer noticed that she’s become a lot smarter in regards to the game of golf.

“Camilla has really improved on how she manages her way around the golf course,” Dwyer said. “She really kept the ball in play and hit the ball in some good places to put her in positions to score. She had a lot of birdies this year.”

Susana Vik is an eighth-grader at GA and has also had a stellar season, capped off with a 76 at New England’s. Competing in the No. 3 spot for the Gators this season, she didn’t lose a match this season, going 15-0.

“It was great because she’s an experienced golfer, but doesn’t have a lot of match-play experience,” Dwyer said. “It’s a little different competing in match play and I think she really stepped up to that. She’s extremely consistent and in her youth I think she’s a fearless putter. She made a lot of great 12-foot putts for us.”

Oates played No. 2 for Greenwich Academy throughout the year and really came on strong in the middle of the season. When the Gators played Taft School at Round Hill Country Club, Oates turned in an impressive 38.

“With Camilla shooting well and Rachel really coming on strong, that is one really tough one-two combination,” Dwyer said. “Rachel had some really nice rounds in the middle of the season and towards the end and that really helped this team stay as strong as it did. Rachel has a really good short game.”

Showing how tough GA was the season, the Gators finished this year’s FAA championship and four of its golfers finished in the top six.

Both Oates and Yacobucci shared the FAA championship with a 41 on the day. Taking the third slot was Susana Vik, who shot a 42 on the day. Her older sister grabbed sixth place overall with a 45 for the finals.

For a team that basically accomplished a perfect season, it seems like it could be hard to find room for improvement. However Dwyer still wants his team to work hard during the offseason.

“One of things I tell the girls is that next season starts this summer,” Dwyer said. “If you’re going to improve as a golfer for next golf season, it’s going to happen in the next four months. We lose Camilla and Phoebe Morrison to graduation and that’s it. We have a lot of the team back and I would like to see them all get better. I would like some of our younger girls to have an opportunity to play in those spots.”

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