Bombers’ golfers seek strong showing in GMC Tournament

By Warren Rappleyea

Sayreville War Memorial High School’s boys golf team looks to close out its season May 19 with a strong showing in the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament at the Forsgate Country Club in Jamesburg.

The second-seeded Bombers are coming off a superb regular season that saw the Blue and Gray run up a 17-1 mark, including a perfect 14-0 record in divisional play to win the GMC White Division championship for the first time since 1993. Sayreville’s lone loss came against Shore Conference foe Howell High School.

As a result, coach Tom McCloskey’s team earned the second seed behind East Brunswick High School in the GMC Tournament and an automatic berth in the final eight.

“It’s been a solid season, and we’re proud to have won our division,” the Sayreville mentor said. “There’s still a lot of room for improvement and next year, we’re going to have to replace five very good seniors.”

The Bombers qualified for the NJSIAA Central/South Group IV tournament but finished a disappointing 16th May 16 at the Linwood Country Club in Atlantic County.

“We were up against some very strong competition,” the coach said. “It wasn’t our best day, but our guys didn’t play poorly, it just shows how good the level of golf is in our state and how far we have to go. Still, it was a great experience and it was nice to make the state tournament a second year in a row.”

Lefty Tyler Jones was the Bombers’ top player, averaging 7-over-par on the season. McCloskey regularly sends Jones out with the third group of players because of the senior’s experience and poise under pressure.

Andrew Surgent started and finished strong to average 8-over for the year. At one point, he pulled himself from the lineup for a match so he could work with McCloskey on his fundamentals. Shortly thereafter, the senior was back on track. It was Surgent who sank the clinching putt to secure the White Division crown with a victory over Monroe Township High School.

Co-captains James Pasko and Nick Behr both averaged 8-over-par while providing strong leadership. Pasko regularly worked with the Bombers’ younger players, while Behr kept the team’s spirit up and went so far as to host a team dinner. Jimmy Langan, another senior, had his best season, consistently coming in 9- or 10-over-par.

“This is a very close-knit group of guys,” McCloskey said. “We don’t just bring six guys to a match; they all come. When we won the division, all of our guys were there at the final hole. It was exciting.”

Junior John Perini averaged 9-over and became a regular contributor. R.J. Feola, another junior, also did well in several varsity matches. Long-hitting sophomore Shane O’Neill showed plenty of potential when he got into the lineup.

McCloskey noted that several freshmen will be expected to step into key roles next spring. They include Ameer Amari, Tom Evans, Nick Lugos, Scott Misch, Joe Phillips and Danny Yu.

“I’m glad we kept them all because I’ve seen the improvement in all of their games,” McCloskey said. “They’ve learned a lot. We’re going to need them next year.”