High winds swept across the greens on Monday at Easton Country Club, the site of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Division 2 South sectional golf tournament.
The gusts frustrated players and wreaked havoc on scores: The average of the 59 participants was 85, well above the par 71.
Despite the blustery conditions, Rob Boush remained calm.
The Walpole High junior shot a 4-over-par 75, good enough to earn medalist honors and qualify as an individual for the Division 2 state final, which was rescheduled for Nov. 5 at Gannon Municipal Golf Course in Lynn after officials last week grew concerned about Hurricane Sandy’s threat to the region.
First-year Walpole coach Adam Lucas cited Boush’s level of concentration as a factor in his success.
“What separates him from most of the high school players is that not only is he good physically, he has a good mental game as well,” Lucas said. “He’s an aggressive player, but he knows how to channel his energy. He never lets any moments rattle him.”
Perhaps most telling of all is that Boush expected more of himself.
“For the most part I played pretty strongly throughout the day until the last couple holes,” he said. “I should have been closer to par, but I still got it done, so I guess you can’t complain.”
Boush is the latest in a family of golfers.
His older brother, Tim, captained the Rebels’ golf team last fall, earning honorable mention on the Bay State Conference’s all-star team. After graduating in June, he enrolled in Coastal Carolina University’s PGA golf management program. Younger brother Andrew, an eighth-grader, is a junior member at Walpole Country Club.
The boys trace their love of the game to their father, Steve, who is on the board of governors at Walpole Country Club.
Boush said his father “showed me how to play when I was probably 4 or 5, and now I golf with him all the time,” he said. “I would not be playing without him.”
Walpole finished 8-3 in conference play this fall; among the highlights was beating Wellesley, the team’s first win over its league rival in more than five years.
Because of Boush’s knowledge of the game, Lucas said, he does not interfere with his player’s style.
“It’s kind of an unspoken thing, we don’t really talk much about his approach,” Lucas said. “He knows he’s going to go out and execute. He’s definitely one of the best players in the conference, but I would consider him one of the best players in the state.”
Boush will get to prove himself once again next week at Gannon. While he has confidence in himself, he recognizes the quality of the competition.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of good people there,” he said. “I want to do well and hopefully place, but I’m just going to play my game and hope for the best.”
One of his chief competitors will be Oliver Ames High sophomore Sam Minsky, who shared medalist honors with Boush at the Division 2 South sectional. Led by Minsky’s 4-over-par 75, the Tigers (316) edged Mansfield (318) for the South title.
“Sam has been pretty consistent all year for us,” said Oliver Ames coach Leo Duggan. “He played with a lot of confidence on Monday in some windy conditions. He was a big reason why we won.”
Minsky is one of a number of Tigers who, though young, “are really good athletes in addition to being good golfers,” said Duggan. “We’re still really inexperienced, but the kids really came through this year. It’s been a really nice surprise for them to come this far.”
In Division 3, Pembroke will follow the lead of senior Kevin Gately, who shot a 3-over 75 and medaled in the South sectional at Glen Ellen Country Club in Millis.
Gately (75) helped the Titans (328) place second, two strokes behind Westwood, and advance to the Division 3 state final, now set for Wednesday at Red Tail in Devens.
This will be Gately’s fourth straight trip to the state final. The Titans qualified as a team in 2009 and 2010, and Gately competed as an individual last year, placing 14th out of 47 golfers.
“I’ve seen in the past that having that one or two years of experience has really helped me, and now that I’ve been there three times I believe that I’ll play really well,” he said. “I won’t have as much pressure as some of the other kids.”