LYNN — A hole-in-one is a special happening in golf, possibly a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that puts a golfer in an exclusive club. Classical golfer Luke Rao became a member of that club Tuesday afternoon, knocking one in during a match against Somerville at Gannon Golf Club.
Rao made the ace on the par-3 sixth hole, dunking one with a 7-iron from 170 yards out.
“I’ve never seen a hole-in-one in a high school match before, so it was a very exciting moment for everybody,” said Classical coach Jack Morrison. “All of the kids around were going wild when it went in, and it was obviously a really special moment for Luke. I think it really gave us some positive momentum.”
While Rao didn’t win his match overall — he tied it 4 1/2-4 1/2 — his performance did help lift Classical to a 39 1/2-32 1/2 win over the Highlanders. Winners on the day for the Rams were Brady Warren (7 1/2-1 1/2), Kyle McCarthy (5-4). Daniel Finnigan (5 1/2-3 1/2) and Matt Devin (7-2).
Finnigan and Devin were the last two golfers on the course for Classical, and it was their points that helped push the Rams over the edge. Morrison notes that Classical’s depth of talent helps the Rams in tight matches.
“We’re a hardworking, lunchpail type of team,” said Morrison. “We have good players top to bottom, but we also can’t afford to make mental mistakes out there. We have to show up every day and play smart if we want to win. So far this year, the whole team has done a good job of showing up in every match.”
The win puts Classical at 7-4 on the year — a comfortable place to be at the halfway point of the season according to Morrison.
“It’s a good place to be,” Morrison said. “But at the same time, we’ve had to work pretty hard for every one of those wins. We’ve been relying on our depth and it’s helped us, but we still have to avoid mistakes.”
That being said, there’s still plenty that the Rams need to build on. There are tough matches coming up against other strong teams in the Northeastern Conference, and Classical is going to have to be at the top of its game both mentally and physically down the stretch. The possibility of an NEC title is still viable as well, but it’s going to take a lot of work.
“It’s cliche, but we just have to keep getting better every day,” said Morrison. “The guys are buying in and working hard, which is great. We’ve just got to keep working on our skills and also keep making sure that we don’t make those silly mistakes that will hurt us in a match. If we can avoid the mistakes, we can go pretty far.”
Next up for Classical is a road matchup against Gloucester at Bass Rocks Golf Club Wednesday afternoon (4).