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Dahl, Pearl lead locals at golf championships

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Belmont junior Brandon Pearl gets some advice from coach Kevin Charleston during action at the NHIAA Division III Championships on Oct. 4 at Newport Golf Club. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
October 08, 2012
NEWPORT – While neither school competed in the team portion of the event, both the Belmont High School and Winnisquam Regional High School golf teams were well-represented at the NHIAA Division III Tournament held at Newport Golf Club on Oct. 4.

Both teams sent a pair of golfers to compete, and one from each school qualified for the individual portion of the tourney held on Oct. 6 at the same course.

Belmont junior Brandon Pearl led his team with an 85 on the Par 71 course, finishing right on the number needed to move on to the individual finals. Winnisquam junior Jordan Dahl was also right on the mark, as he fired an 85 to lead the Bears. Dahl wound up finishing in 12th place after the individual round, as he shot a 94 for a two-day total of 179. Pearl chose not to compete in the second day of action, where Roman Ojala of Mascenic was the winner with a two-day total of 153.

"(Pearl) shot 41 on the front (nine) so that's what did it for him," said Belmont coach Kevin Charleston. "He played great. He had some bad holes to start off with and ended up pulling it together. It was good for him. He's been inconsistent a little bit this year, hasn't had a ton of great rounds so it was good to see him play well today."

Dahl, who transferred into the program from Bishop Brady this fall, has been his team's number one player all season, and he managed to prolong the year two days by firing the 85.

"Jordan's a young guy so playing in this tournament is a good experience for him," said Winnisquam coach John Larsen. "I think he's enjoyed being a part of the program this year and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do in the future."

Pearl's birdie on the par three seventh hole was one of his highlights during the opening day of competition, as he stuck his tee shot pin high and buried the putt.

Pearl wasn't the only Red Raider to compete however, as freshman Caleb Drouin fired an 88 in his first state championship tournament.

"I shot a 40 on the front (nine) but the back just killed me," explained Drouin. "I couldn't make a par, got two triple (bogeys). But it was a good experience. I can look forward to it in the future. Getting to play courses like this is really good."

The Raiders finished the regular season 8-13 overall, though the way Belmont closed out the season has Charleston excited for the future of the program. The squad won a three-team match with Kearsarge and Prospect Mountain at Canterbury Woods in the finale, firing a 175 to defeat a pair of solid clubs.

"The season ended too early," said Charleston. "Another month and we probably would've made (the state tournament) as a team. Shooting 175 to beat those two teams…that was the best golf we've played in Canterbury in at least eight years. That was great to see and it was exciting. It was the only time this year where everyone played well at the same time."

Drouin was also impressed with how his teammates came to play late in the season.

"We were definitely getting better and better as the year went along," the freshman said. "Our last few spots in the lineup really improved throughout the season. We just started to come together."

The Raiders also performed well at the Inter-Lakes Classic on Oct. 1 at Waukewan Golf Club in Meredith. The event featured Stableford scoring, a different format than the usual stroke play teams use throughout the season. Belmont took home fourth place with a large number of teams participating.

"At Waukewan, that was also exciting," Charleston said. "Brandon was still out on the course and the kids were all still hanging out at the scoreboard waiting to see what was going to happen. That's nice to hear Belmont being part of the conversation, finishing fourth there. The kids were excited."

Senior Brielle Moore closed out her career for Belmont at the girls' individual state championship on Sept. 29, as she finished 11th in the field at Campbell's Scottish Highlands. Moore really impressed on the back nine of her round, as she posted a 41 thanks to five pars en route to an 89. Mascenic's Jocelyn Ojala won the girls' state title with an even par 71.

In addition to Dahl's 85, the Bears saw senior Craig Pattenaude close out his golf career with a 95 at Newport. Winnisquam finished the regular season with a team record of 9-15 while playing home matches at Lochmere Golf & Country Club.

"When you're dealing with a senior on their way out, you want them to have a good day at the state tournament," said Larsen. "Craig's worked hard to get to where he was today. He's been a leader all year long. He took the younger guys under his wing, would go out and hit extra balls with them after practice if they asked him to. He might not have the best score on the board today but you couldn't find a better kid to coach."

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