SPRINGFIELD, NJ -The Jonathan Dayton Bulldog golf team completed its successful season the third week of May. The team's record was 13 wins and 10 losses. The Bulldogs won the Mountain Division of the Union County Conference golf tournament. For the first time in a number of years, the team qualified for the county tournament without the need for a play in game.
Jonathan Dayton was able to avenge two early season losses late in the season. The Bulldogs lost to both Ranney School and Glen Ridge. In May the top four were able to defeat both teams on their home courses (Trump National Colts Neck and Glen Ridge Country Club respectively).
Also, for the first time in a number of years, the Bulldogs were able to defeat Governor Livingston, Johnson and New Providence High schools. There was a stark contrast between the 2018 and 2019 golf season. In 2018 the team only had one practice round and 14 competitive rounds. In 2019 the team had five practice rounds and played 25 competitive rounds.
Only the top four golfers scores are counted in a golf match. In 2018 the Top 4 averaged a 202 score. This year’s top four averaged a 182 for the 25 rounds played.
Fortunately, no matches were canceled on some of the outstanding courses at Jonathan Dayton had scheduled. Matches this year were contested at the historic Baltusrol Golf Club (five matches on Mondays in April), Echo Lake, Canoe Brook, Morris County Golf Club, Trump National Colts Neck, Shaxamaxon and Suburban.
The Top four’s scores count in a dual match. In 2018 the top four averaged 205 strokes on the of the most challenging courses in Union County. The 2019 edition averaged 191 strokes for sixteen nine-hole rounds.
To continue to the comparison between the 2018 and 2019 seasons the returning varsity letter winners (Sarah Rodrick, Matt Zeiman, Aiden Forys, Jeremy Greiss and Brett Netkin) all saw tremendous improvement in their golf games.
Leading the way was Brett Netkin. The sophomore averaged in 2018 a 57 shots per 9 holes. This season Brett was the number two golfer with a 44.6 average. He finished third in the Union County Mountain Division Conference Championship. The highlight of his year was a 41 carded at Baltusrol. Netkin was a first team All-Conference Mountain Division.
“My favorite moment from the year was when I almost got my first hole in one at county's at Echo Lake”,commented Netkin. “It was the third hole (par 3, about 140 yards). I hit an 8 iron to about 6 inches from the cup. Unfortunately it did not roll in, but that was definitely my highlight from the season. I ended up getting a birdie on the hole, by the way!”
Aiden Forys was Jonathan Dayton number one golfer from the start of the first 2019 practice round. Aiden cut eight strokes off his overall average this year, averaging a 42 for 22 rounds played. Aiden was the 2019 Champion Golfer for the Union County Mountain Division Conference Championship. Forys carded a terrific 74 on the par 66 course.
Junior Matt Zeiman earned his second varsity letter. He cut seven strokes off his average to come in this year at a 45. The highlight of Matt's year was on the Galloping Hill upper course he shot a 38 tying a PGA professional that was playing along in our match for that round.
“My favorite moment from this season was winning the conference championship and then going on to play another 9 holes at Baltusrol and starting out that round 1 over after 5,” stated Zeiman.
Zeiman continued, “My personal highlight was shooting my best round of the season on the front 9 at Galloping Hill. This was a huge moment for me because I was able to shoot a 38, which was 2 over par, on a course that was a lot more challenging than I anticipated. This was a personal milestone for me because I was able to see how much I'd grown as a golfer. Additionally, hearing comments from other teammates about my round was really good to hear knowing I got support from a great team.”
Sophomore Jeremy Greiss earned his second varsity letter. He cut seven strokes off his average to get to 48.1. Jeremy and every golfer mentioned above represented Jonathan Dayton in the Union County Conference Mountain Division Championships. The team defeated seven other conference foes. It was not a predetermined outcome. A week later in the County Championship, Jonathan Dayton beat the runner-up Johnson by only two strokes
Number five golfer for Jonathan Dayton and earning his first varsity letter was Jordan Berkowitz. Berkowitz faced many competitive battles throughout the year for his 5th spot. He always played enough to keep his spot and ensure he would get to play when the team was only permitted to bring five golfers to a match.
Freshman Noam Brooks earned his second varsity letter as a freshman. His first letter came in swimming. Brooks showed flashes of his potential throughout the year.
“My favorite place to play was Baltusrol, stated Brooks. “An eye-opening experience for me was the amount of opportunities I had to play golf and especially at such a variety of courses.”
Jack Resnick is a freshman who was in a constant battle for the fifth, sixth, and seventh spots throughout the year. Resnick had some highlight shots throughout the year. Also, Resnick is a starter’s dream because he always keeps a fast pace of play.
“These two freshmen are two of the biggest hopes for the 2020 golf season,” Coach Campbell said. “I hope that their goal coming into the season will not just to be a top-five golfer but to be good enough to be in the top three. That will enable the team to get to the next level as a competitive program.”
The only senior on the team was Sarah Roderick. Rodrick earned her third varsity letter. From her freshman campaign, Sarah improved by close to five strokes. Sarah also represented the program very well, being its face of the golf team for many freshman orientations held at the high school throughout her years. Sarah will attend Arizona State University.
“I expect to get emails from her highlighting her newest milestones in golf as she will be able to play year round, mentioned Coach Campbell. “Sarah loves the game of golf and I have no doubt that she will play it all of her life!”
“I'm excited to keep playing golf at Arizona State and to try out for the club team,” remarked Rodrick.
Rodrick added, “My favorite highlight of this year was hitting the flagstick on the 8th hole at Galloping Hill. My favorite match was the first match of the season at Baltusrol. It was a beautiful day and I had a birdie during the middle of the match then a par after a sand shot on the last hole.
Junior Matt Zeiman commented, “Being teammates with Sarah as well as getting to play with her is a one of a kind experience. She is always keeping the team and I motivated and continues to push us to do our absolute best. Her mentality is hard to come by and really pays off in the long run. She never lets a bad shot or hole get to her head and she won't let it happen to her teammates either which is a quality we all strive for.”
Team goals will be set high for the 2020 season. It is expected the team will defend its Conference Championship. The bigger goal is that the team will qualify for the North 2 Group one section and compete for its championship.
“I hope to have the top five play in a couple of competitive in-season eighteen hole events,” Campbell said. “All these kids need to do is to play and to get use to competing, once they have the confidence and belief in themselves as a unit there should be no stopping them.” “Hopefully we will peak right at the sectional tournament time.”