HAVERHILL — After matching BC High sophomore Jack O’Donnell with a 3-under-par 69 in Monday’s Division 1 state championship at Haverhill Country Club, Holden Elletson had to calm his nerves for a one-hole playoff.
The Barnstable senior, who made seven birdies over 18 holes, flared his opening drive to begin the sudden-death playoff on hole No. 1 and received a fortunate bounce off a tree to keep his ball in play.
With a 70-foot tall tree between him and the green, Elletson gathered himself and reached for his pitching wedge, looping his second shot perfectly over the obstacle and onto the green in front of the pin.
He converted a birdie putt on the Par 4 for the individual title.
“I had that wedge shot probably five times today, so I was kind of dialed in and I had that same putt earlier today to save par and I missed it,” Elletson said. “So I knew what it was going to do and I just made sure to hit it hard enough.”
“This is only the second individual win ever and to end my high school career on this note is great.”
Led by O’Donnell’s 69 as well as great rounds from last year’s individual champion Nathan Ingram (73), Joe Paolucci (79), Will Strauss (83), and Nate Robards (83), the Eagles edged St. John’s Shrewsbury by one point, 304 to 305, for the school’s first state title.
“Going for the individual title was just kind of a bonus, but I’m really stoked about the first team title in BC High history,” said O’Donnell. “We’ve been working hard all year and this is a great result.”
Barnstable and Algonquin tied for third place with 308 points, while Xaverian (309) rounded out the top five.
Along with O’Donnell, fellow sophomore Paolucci stepped up at a nerve-wracking event in which every shot can make a huge difference, creating a sense of optimism for a BC High program that hopes to continue competing for state titles.
“The little things went our way,” said BC High coach Charlie Hayes. “We felt we were due after finishing as runners up a couple of years. If you keep doing what we do and play a tough schedule against many of the quality opponents we see out here today, we’re hoping to be here for years to come.”Nate Weitzer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.