H.S. GOLF: Hingham boys had banner yearsports Wicked Local South/Mariner, Marshfield, Mass. — Chris McDaniel Wicked Local South/Mariner, Marshfield, Mass.
Nov. 14--The Hingham High boys golf team had a bumpy start to the season, but it ended with a boatload of accolades.
The Harbormen won their first four matches, but dropped their next four. Following the .500 start, Hingham went on a roll that brought the team its first Patriot League Keenan Division title since 2013 and a Division 2 South (Cape & Islands) South Sectional title.
"The biggest surprise was how quickly the sophomores gained confidence," said Hingham coach Dan Clune. "Even though golf is an individual sport, these guys melded together as a team, cheering each other on. (We had) great camaraderie on the away trips in the van. I feel that they truly liked each other and that attitude help with us winning . I think my captains, Rich (Miller) and Dylan (Parnell) fostered this."
Heading into the sectionals, sophomore Hunter Ruddick had a better season average than Parnell, but since Parnell was a senior, Ruddick gave up his spot. Parnell didn't disappoint, shooting an 80, which was fourth among Hingham's six golfers at the sectionals.
At the Division 2 State championship at Highfields Golf & Country Club in Grafton, Hingham finished second with 315 points, just behind champion Hopkinton (312). At the championship meet, every Hingham golfer shot an 86 or better. Oliver Paddon, a sophomore, shot a 3-over 75. Miller carded a 77, good for fifth in the state.
At the sectionals, the title was decided with a tiebreaker. Ben Hamilton's 88 was the difference while sophomore Shan Syed shot a 77.
The Harbormen only returned three starters from last year's varsity team -- Miller, Parnell and Paddon. That's where the sophomore class of Syed, Wes Bevins, Cooper Pennell and Ruddick stepped in.
"I had a feeling we could be good because my JV team from last year was undefeated with a very strong freshmen class," said Clune. "Rich (Miller) and Dylan (Parnell) showed the sophomores how to be good teammates. The sophomores relaxed and gained confidence through the season."
Hingham's four-game skid came against tough competition in B.C. High, Silver Lake, Plymouth South (Patriot League Fisher Division champs) and Scituate. Following the losing streak, the Harbormen ran the table.
Miller was Hingham's top player, averaging just 1.5 strokes over par. Miller shot under par four times this season, including a 2-under 32 at President's Golf Course in Quincy.
"Rich Miller was my best and most consistent performer," said Clune. "I could always count on Rich to finish right around par."
Hingham had seven players average between four and seven strokes over par.
Syed, Paddon, Parnell and Bevins all shot under par once this season. Bevins recorded a double eagle on the 18th hole at Highfields, scoring a 2 on a par 5.
"On any given day any of my top eight players could go low," said Clune.
On Sept. 18, the Harbormen defeated Duxbury, 244-245, on a tiebreaker at the Duxbury Yacht Club. Paddon's low score on an even-par 36 swung the match in Hingham's favor.
In a 248-249 win over Silver Lake on Oct. 12, Hingham's Miller (37) battled with Laker Dillon Brown (36), who will attend the University of Maryland on a golf scholarship next year.
As a team, Hingham shot 3-under par twice against Quincy, once at Furnace Brook and once at the South Shore Country Club.
Matt Hatfield, a senior, played in only one match due to injury.
With a deep core of a junior and five sophomores who went to states, the 2018 season could be even better for the Harbormen.
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