Greenwich Academy golfers once again claim Pippy O’Connor trophy

Greenwich Academy golfer Rachel Oates fires a ball out of the bunker during a recent practice. Oates was one of four GA golfers that helps the team claim the Pippy O’Connor championship. — photo courtesy of Greenwich Academy athletic department

Greenwich Academy golfer Rachel Oates fires a ball out of the bunker during a recent practice. Oates was one of four GA golfers that helps the team claim the Pippy O’Connor championship. — photo courtesy of Greenwich Academy athletic department

Greenwich Academy head golf coach Patrick Dwyer is amazed with his team. While seniors have come and gone, the constant on the squad has been the team’s dominance and depth.

Monday afternoon was no exception, as the Gators traveled up to the Waterford Golf Club and claimed the top spot at the Pippy O’Connor Independent School Championships with a score of 313. The victory was the second time in as many years where the Gators enjoyed a bus ride back to Greenwich with the championship hardware.

“You need a lot players to play well, since it’s an aggregate score,” Dwyer said. “You always want to put the lowest score possible and we had four scores that were great rounds. For us to shoot 313 is amazing. Last year we won up in Boston with a 319. For us to be six shots lower this year is really special. It’s a tribute to the girls ability to compete.”

The next closest team was Taft School, finishing with a score of 337. Portsmouth Abbey took the bronze with a score of 374 and Convent of the Sacred Heart finished fourth with a score of 385. Williston Northampton rounded out the top five with a score of 417.

“We were really excited for this one,” Dwyer said. “This event is something that we gear up for during the year. It’s the only 18-hole match we play. The weather was ideal and had some really good scoring conditions. We’ve been playing in a lot of wind this season, so it was great to have a nice, calm day. I was proud of competing.”

The Greenwich Academy golf team poses for a photo after reclaiming the Pippy O'Connor trophy. From left is Caroline Zhao, Jessica Yacobucci, Rachel Oates, Susana Vik, Hope Matthews, Morgan Sorbraro and Ellie Garland

The Greenwich Academy golf team poses for a photo after reclaiming the Pippy O’Connor trophy. From left is Caroline Zhao, Jessica Yacobucci, Rachel Oates, Susana Vik, Hope Matthews, Morgan Sorbraro and Ellie Garland

With the team competition using the four lowest scores on the day, it was the Gators’ Susana Vik that led the way. Vik claimed the team’s lowest score, as well as the individual championship, as she won the 18-hole individual title on her second playoff hole over Andover’s Alexa Tsay and finished with a 2-over par 74.

Not to be outdone was GA’s Rachel Oates, who finished second on the team with a 6-over par 78 on the day. Greenwich Academy senior Hope Matthews had another solid outing at the Pippy O’Connor championship, finishing third on the team with an 8-over par 80.

“Hope traditionally plays well during this tournament,” Dwyer said. “She played really well. I saw her chip in for a birdie on the sixth hole. That helped her momentum. The third hole was a rough one for her, but when she birdied the sixth, he regained her confidence. It was great to see.”

Rounding out the top four scorers for Greenwich Academy Jessica Yacobucci, who finished the course with a 9-over 72.

“It’s her lowest round,” Dwyer said. “In addition to shooting an 81, she actually played the last 15 holes 1-over par. She got off to a rough start, but really settled down. She played most of her round really terrific.”

Rounding out the top five for GA was Caroline Zhao, who took into the clubhouse a score of 88 on the day.

“I think we were very patient as a team,” Dwyer said. “It’s a long day and close to a five-hour round. They were able to stay calm and stay in the moment. Everybody on the team had a hole where they blew up and had a triple bogey on their scorecard. They didn’t let it bother them and just took it one hole at a time.”

Individually, in addition to Vik being the top golfer in the championship, Oates tied for fourth overall and Matthews tied for 11th on the day. Yacobucci finished 14th overall.

“I think that the Pippy O’Connor tournament is a source of pride for the girls,” Dwyer said. “Golf is a very individual sport, so for us to triumph as a team, it means a lot. We play during the spring and the weather isn’t great. It’s hard to get a rhythm going because the weather really impacted how we practiced and played this spring. But to get out there in the biggest tournament of the year, against the best competition, and to contribute successfully, is exciting.”

With the victory at the Pippy O’Connor tournament, the Gators continued its undefeated season. In fact, the last time Greenwich Academy was defeated was in 2012, when they fell to Taft School twice.

“I am beyond thrilled with the consistency of this team,” Dwyer said. “One of the biggest advantages of this team has been its depth. Even though we lost two seniors last year, we are still deep. It’s a real luxury to have.”

On Monday, Greenwich Academy will look to cap off its season when they travel to the Round Hill Golf Club for the Fairchester Athletic Association championships.

“The FAA tournament is an individual tournament and we get to play it on Round Hill, which is our home course,” Dwyer said. “When we get around to this year, Round Hill is usually playing its toughest around mid-May. I hope that plays to our strength as well. We are going to have some small practices, just to keep the mood light. We want to make sure that we still have those good feelings from our time at Watertown when we play on Monday.”

Despite what happens during the FAA championship, it’s hard for Dwyer to say negative about this season.

“I am proud of their patience with the weather and cancellations,” Dwyer said. “Most of all, I am really proud of how they each improved their game. Everybody on the team has done such a good job improving on every aspect of their game.”

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