SALEM — The St. Mary’s golf team held a lead over Division 1 St. John’s Prep through much of its match at Kernwood Country Club Thursday, but in the end it was the depth of the Prep’s lineup that proved too much for the Spartans and St. John’s pulled off a 228-237 win in stroke-play format.
“Even though we lost, I feel good about how we performed out there today, especially in the top part of our lineup,” said St. Mary’s golf coach Jay Fiste. “In the end, St. John’s was just stronger from top to bottom and they played really well. I don’t think any of their guys shot above a 41.”
For St. Mary’s, it was the Emmerich brothers who once again led the attack. Both members at Kernwood, Christian and Aidan Emmerich each shot a 1-under 34 to put the Spartans in an early lead. Luke Smith shot a 3-over 38, Owen Maguire shot a 6-over 41 and Luke Sargent shot a 7-over 42.
The Prep was led by Conor O’Holleran, who shot a 1-over 36. Connor Gill followed that up with a 2-over 37, while Drew Semons and Robbie Forte each shot a 3-over 38.
“Our strength is definitely in our depth,” Prep coach Joe Rocha said. “We trailed after the first five golfers, but our final four guys were able to really flip the score around and give us the win.”
The Spartans held a four-shot lead over the Prep after the top five golfers from both sides finished their rounds, and that was mostly thanks to the help of the Emmerich brothers.
“Since both Christian and Aidan are members at Kernwood, they know the course well and were able to help the other guys with certain shots and things like that,” said Fiste. “So I decided to pair them in different foursomes for that reason, and it worked out pretty well.”
But once it came time for the bottom half of each lineup to post scores, it was the depth of the St. John’s roster that handed the Eagles a close win.
“They have some really good players, especially at the top,” Rocha said of the Spartans. “They were able to get out to a lead pretty early, but our guys just kept battling out there and ended up posting some good scores.”
The match sets a good stage for the rematch between the two teams, which will be held in a couple weeks at Salem Country Club in the same stroke-play format. Fiste likes that his team is getting experience in stroke play during the regular season, as it’s the format used during tournament time.
“This match will help us with experience, especially for the younger guys,” Fiste said. “We’ll end up playing stroke play in the tournament, and going up against strong teams like St. John’s and playing tough courses like Kernwood and Salem will only help us going forward.”
St. Mary’s (2-1) has a tough week coming up with four matches in four days, starting Monday when the Spartans host Austin Prep at Gannon.
As for the Prep, Rocha is happy with the win after starting the season with a loss to Danvers.
“We lost our first match, so it was good to come in and get a win to kind of set the tone for the rest of the season,” said Rocha.
St. John’s (1-1) plays on the road Monday against Central Catholic at Atkinson Country Club.