After a crazy regular season in which four teams finished tied for first place, few were surprised that medalist honors at Monday’s All-Catholic Golf Championships ended in a tie.
Junior Greg Sibick of Nichols and sophomore David Hanes of St. Francis each shot a 74 on a warm, sunny day at picturesque Orchard Park Country Club. A playoff to determine a champion was not considered.
“I’m fine with it. Me and Greg are friends. We grew up playing against each other when we were about 10 years old,” said Hanes. “We played in the Western New York PGAs and we always battled against each other. He hits it a little further than me, but our games are pretty similar overall.”
A field of 43 players from nine schools participated. The top 12 players, plus anyone under 80, earned a trip to the New York State Catholic championships in the spring. Sibick finished second at states a year ago.
“We played Harvest Hill last year and the greens at Orchard Park are definitely more difficult,” said Hanes. “It was pretty wet out there. You don’t want to be in the rough, and I got myself there a couple times, and it kind of hurt me.”
Sibick said the best hole of his round was No. 4 where he left himself with a tap-in for birdie.
In the Monsignor Martin Association regular season, Nichols, St. Francis, St. Joe’s and Canisius all finished with 9-3 records in the AA Division. The four teams went 1-1 against each other. Defending champion Nichols won it last year at 12-0.
The condition of the course changed during the round as the sun slowly dried the greens from Sunday night’s rain. Sibick carded bogies on his first three holes, but was able to birdie three of the course’s four par 5s. He hit eight greens on the back, but said his putting was very ordinary. It had been a long three-day weekend for him as he had finishing playing in a junior tournament at Bethpage on Sunday night.
Hanes’ piece of the title was simply carrying on a tradition set by his older siblings. His brother Billy was All-Catholic medalist for St. Francis in 2002, firing a 71 at Bridgewater CC. His sister, Michelle, a 2013 graduate of Nardin, was a three-time All-Catholic champion.
Hanes birdied Nos. 4, 7 and 17. He went 39 on the front, but came back with a 35 on the back.
It wasn’t the first time Sibick and Hanes shared the same score in a tournament. They finished in a tie for sixth at 151 in August at the New York State Junior Golf Tournament in Skaneateles.
After being part of the foursome to share the regular season Monsignor Martin title, Canisius emerged as the playoff team champion with five players in the mid-70s. It was the Crusaders’ third title in the last four years. Nichols won last year at Harvest Hills.
Sophomore Matt Santora, senior Max Kreuz and sophomore Max Downing had 76s for Canisius. Senior Nick Wodzinski and junior Ryan Gibbons went 78. Sixth man senior Ryan Matthews had an 81. Santora and Gibbons were ranked in the top five in scoring during the regular season.
Canisius had turned over most of its team of a year ago, so the it was the first time playing in the All-Catholics for all six of its players.
“I think they played great today,” said Canisius coach Jeff Pragel. “A few of them (Santora, Gibbons) have been playing that way the whole season. They played slightly better than they have all season. We lost all our starters from last year. They exceeded our expectations.”