Weekly Feature



2017-10-12 / Sports

EA/Holland’s LaCongo wins ECIC golf title

Junior Andrew LaCongo recorded an 11-stroke improvement over his performance in last year’s ECIC Individual Championships effort during Tuesday’s annual tournament to take the title with his 1-over par 72 at Sheridan Park Golf Course.

LaCongo edged out teammates Jake Roach and Mitch Jeffe, who are also juniors, for top honors. Roach repeated as the runner up with his 18-hole round of 74, while Jeffe placed fourth with his 78. Jeffe’s twin brother, Matt, also qualified for the Section VI championships in the spring with his round of 83.

East Aurora/Holland co-coach Jay Hoagland said that it might have been the first time that the program has had three top-five finishers at the ECIC Tournament, but he was certain that it hadn’t happened in the six years that he and fellow co-coach Mike Klimchuck have been guiding the team.

“I couldn’t be happier with our performance,” Hoagland said. “We were the only team to have three in top eight for the day. It was just a great showing by us, and to have the individual champion out of 80-plus golfers is just a pretty terrific feat.”

East Aurora/Holland’s Jake Roach keeps his eye on his ball as it soars down the fairway during Tuesday’s annual ECIC Individual Championship Tournament at Sheridan Park Golf Course. Roach finished as the runner up for a second consecutive season after posting an 18-hole score of 74. Photo by John NormilePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com East Aurora/Holland’s Jake Roach keeps his eye on his ball as it soars down the fairway during Tuesday’s annual ECIC Individual Championship Tournament at Sheridan Park Golf Course. Roach finished as the runner up for a second consecutive season after posting an 18-hole score of 74. Photo by John NormilePurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Competitors, who had to average 48 or better for nine holes during the regular season to compete in the tournament, played with “clean and place” rules throughout the course due to the vast amounts of standing water still on the course after Monday’s remnants of Hurricane Nate dumped close to 2 inches of rain on the Tonawanda area. The wet conditions left the greens particularly slow and damp during the morning portion of the tournament, but as the sun came out and dried things up a bit the greens sped up some, Hoagland said.

Fortunately for the Blue Devil competitors, playing as much golf as they do year round and working with their own professional teachers gave them the knowledge and experience to overcome those challenges.

“These guys all play in as many tournaments as they can, so they just really know how to play tournament golf,” Hoagland said.

East Aurora/Holland’s contingent came into ECICs looking to do well after helping the Blue Devils close out a third undefeated run through the Small Schools South division with recent wins over Pioneer (250-299), Iroquois (248-266) and West Seneca (265-278). Matt Jeffe was the medalist against Pioneer with his 38, while Tage Hoeg added a season-low round of 40. Max Czora also scored well to help take down the Panthers.

LaCongo, meanwhile, was the medalist against both Iroquois and West Seneca with a season-low 36 against the Chiefs and a 37 against West Seneca.

As division champion, East Aurora/Holland earned the opportunity to return to Sheridan Park on Tuesday to take part in the Team Championships against Orchard Park (South Large Schools champion), Williamsville North (North Large Schools champion) and Starpoint (North Small Schools champion).

“We’re going to be competitive and have chance at the Team Championships, but what has to happen is our fifth and sixth golfers need to shoot in the mid-40s or lower, and our top four have got to be in mid 30s; if that happens, we definitely have a chance to be competitive with Orchard Park,” Hoagland said. “Orchard Park’s depth from their first through eighth golfer is better than ours, but our top four showed to be better than theirs at ECICs today.”

(Reporter Jason Nadolinski contributed to this article.)

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