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Nighthawk Golfers Hope To Ride Home Course Advantage Into Postseason

In high school golf, qualification for the state tournament is not based on wins and losses but, rather, course differential. That said, what’s more significant than the fact Newtown High School’s boys’ golf squad carries an 8-4 record into the stretch run is that the season concludes with five straight home matches on the familiar greens and fairways of Rock Ridge Country Club.

“Huge advantage, huge advantage,” Newtown Coach and Rock Ridge Golf Professional Bill Flood said of the season closing out at home.

“This is the first year in probably 15 years that we have an outside shot at making Division I states,” Flood said. “The young kids are starting to learn to play.”

Newtown shook off a loss to Joel Barlow at Redding Country Club, a match in which they shot a 170 to Barlow’s 157, on May 1 to beat visiting Barlow, 151-159 at home in the first of that stretch of five straight home matches.

In the most recent Barlow match, Brian LeBlanc shot a 36, Vivek Tedla shot a 38, Colin Patrick shot a 37, and Graham Hubbert shot a 40.

Even in losses, Newtown has had some impressive scores, Flood said.

LeBlanc is Newtown’s top golfer, and stands to have some success on his own, regardless of how the team does this spring.

“He, I think, is a lock to make states as an individual,” said Flood, adding that LeBlanc also may very well play his way into All-SWC status. LeBlanc finished a recent round at Rock Ridge with a score of 34, to finish a stroke under par.

Flood believes Patrick, Tedla, and Hubbert are all in contention for all conference honors as well.

From match to match, it’s come down to pushing the right buttons. Flood has a wide range of competitive golfers on the roster, some of whom are playing on the junior varsity team and bump up into varsity roles depending on how they’re playing in matches and practices.

“This is as loaded as we’ve been,” Flood said of his lineup.

The SWC, too, is talented this spring, the coach adds. Pomperaug of Southbury is the top team, and New Milford, Weston, Barlow, and Brookfield are all having strong campaigns. Newtown just finished back-to-back competitions with Barlow and faces each of those other tough schools in this stretch run.

“We have the meat of our schedule right now,” Flood points out.

Flood believes that if his team, collectively, shoots an average of 25 over the course differential on average it will have a decent shot at qualifying for states.

“It’s right in our reach. We have to play well,” the coach said.

He adds that keeping it down around 20 over would put his team in pretty good shape for postseason, and give it a shot at making the SWC tourney.

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