Hopkinton golf wins back-to-back state titles

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The Hopkinton High School golf team won its second straight Division 2 state championship, becoming the first Hillers’ golf team to repeat in more than a decade.

   Senior tri-captain Mitch Marcou and sophomore Ryan Lundy carded 3-over par rounds of 75 in cold, windy conditions last week at the Marshfield Country Club to lead the way for Hopkinton, which finished six shots clear of second place Danvers. The Hillers top player through the regular season, junior Matt Epstein, added a 79 despite not playing his best to help give Hopkinton the win.

   “Depth, that was the key to the whole tournament,” said Hopkinton head coach Dick Bliss. “Matt did not have his best day but he hung in there. When you get your number five or six player stepping up and shooting 3-over par, like Mitch did, that’s best round he has played in tournament competition.”

   Bliss also extolled the play of Lundy, who also stood out in last year’s tournament. Senior Will Pawela and junior Ned Dean added 81s to round out the Hopkinton winning score and cap off another exceptional year for the program. 

   Esptein averaged 35 over the course of the Hillers 16-0 regular season campaign and was voted the MVP of the Tri-Valley League. Lundy, Marcou, Dean and Pawela joined him in earning league all-star honors. Senior captain Abby Jaye was a TVL all-star honorable mention along with Teddy Henneberry and freshman Jack Petruney.

   The Hillers, who will graduate 10 seniors from this year’s team, also earned a second place finish at the South Sectional tournament. 

   “That’s a lot of seniors to be leaving our team,” Bliss said. “That’s the most I have had on the team but they have been in the program this long and have been loyal to the team, so I said ‘we are keeping them.’”

   Bliss said his team put together a strong practice round the day before the state tournament.

   “They were really confident going into the states,” he said.

   The last time Hopkinton won two straight state titles in golf was in 2003 and 2004, when the Hillers featured Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and PGA Championship winner, as well as fellow tour pro Jon Curran.

   “They went back-to-back,” Bliss said, “and now they can say they did as well as the best players I’ve ever had.”