MVRHS golf swings past Bishop Feehan

This marks the team’s first win in several years against the Shamrocks.

Grant Santos is pumped after sinking a putt in this file photo. -Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School golf team gave Coach Doug DeBettencourt a terrific birthday present Tuesday. They beat Bishop Feehan (242-246) in an Eastern Athletic League (EAC) match, for the first time in several years. With the win, the Vineyarders (9-1-1) have a share of the EAC league lead with the Shamrocks (10-1).

“We tied them last year, but we haven’t beaten them in the five or six years of EAC play,” the happy coach said in the parking lot at Farm Neck Golf Club.

Tri-captains Zak Danz shot 38 and Chris Simpkins and Chris Mayhew shot 39, but lower-seeded players Tabor Caron (41), Jack Murray (40) and Lizzie Williamson (a personal best 45) helped to power the Division 3 Vineyarders past the Division 2 state champs.

While Feehan’s Chatfield Davis shot 36 to lead the field, high school golf counts the best six scores among eight players on each team to determine the winner, and lower-seeded players can make the difference. “We all have to play well [to win],” Coach DeBettencourt said.

Golf is a courtly game. Players shake hands after matches, and observe golf’s many traditions and rules of courtesy. The Vineyarders did that, but after the Feehan bus left, the Farm Neck parking lot exploded with cheers and whooping.

“Golfers don’t do normally do that, but the kids really wanted this win. The seniors knew it was their last chance. They like the Feehan kids — that’s not it at all. The team didn’t gloat, they shook hands, but our kids were pumping each other up all week. I have to say, in my years of coaching, I’ve never seen this type of preparation. They targeted this match, and they did it. I am so happy for our kids,” Coach Debettencourt said around his grin.

Feehan has completed 2016 EAC play at 7-1. The Vineyarders are 5-1 in the EAC, losing only to Feehan earlier in the season. They must go through tough EAC foes Bishop Stang and Somerset-Berkley for a share of the prize.

The Vineyarders are peaking at the right time. They got their tournament-qualifying ninth win last Saturday, beating Falmouth High School 235-246, and finished fourth on Sunday among 12 EAC and Cape high school teams at the Vineyarders’ second annual Invitational Tournament hosted by the Vineyard Golf Club.

“I can’t say enough about the Vineyard Golf Club. They hosted the event, provided lunch, dinner, and backpacks for every player. Eri Seguin is the head pro there, and really did a great job for the players and coaches. Just a fabulous event,” Coach DeBettencourt said.

Next up is Bishop Stang, Wednesday in New Bedford. The Vineyarders move toward the state south sectional tournament that begins on Oct. 24 at Dennis Pines in Dennis.