Bergen Catholic, Pascack Hills golf winners at Bergen Nassar team championships by Greg Mattura of The Record
MAHWAH – Bergen Catholic has been Bergen County’s No. 1 golf team since the first swing of the season.
Pascack Hills, meanwhile, has developed into the county’s best small school.
So as expected, Bergen Catholic won the large-school Group 3-4-A title and Pascack Hills won the small-school Group 1-2-B crown at Thursday’s Bergen County Odell Nassar Memorial Team Championship.
Bergen Catholic again broke par with a shoot-five, count-four score of 1-under-par 287 at Darlington Golf Course. What made the Crusaders’ score impressive – and runner-up Northern Highlands’ 295 also noteworthy – is competitors played from back tees in excess of 6,800 yards.
“Really a pretty good day for Bergen Catholic,” said Crusaders coach Jim Jacobsen.
More than a pretty good day, because all seven Crusaders shot 82 or better to finish among the top 33 and advance to Thursday’s Bergen County Dan Luciano Individual Championship at Galloping Hill in Kenilworth.
Scores from the Nassar count toward the Luciano, so a 5-under-par 67 by Bergen Catholic’s Jimmy Criscione gives the senior a four-stroke margin over Ramapo senior Ian Lee and Tenafly junior Jacob Lim.
All seven from Bergen Catholic shot in the 70s. Dan Yam shot 72 and is tied for fourth. Alex Lamarca carded 73, James Pak 74, Will Celiberti 75, Chris Lee 76 and Mike Viggiano 79.
“You get your cake and you get to eat it, too, and that’s exactly what happened,” Jacobsen said. “We got our cake, which is to win the Group 3-4-A, and we got to eat it too – or the whipped cream on the cake – by winning the overall and also by having all seven guys qualify for the Luciano.”
Criscione had six birdies and one bogey to build his four-stroke lead for the Luciano.
“Today I hit pretty much all the fairways, and with my approach shots, I put myself in the right position and gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities,” Criscione said. “And I got the putter rolling, too, and thankfully they fell today.”
Pascack Hills’ 324 was nine strokes better than Tenafly and its success has been about strength in numbers. While no Cowboy has a nine-hole average below 40, they all can shoot near 80 for 18 holes. Scott Rabinowitz shot 77 on Thursday, Kevin Michael 81, and Garrett Koroghlian and Nick Curcio each had 83.
“We don’t have that horse,” said Pascack Hills coach Ed Sandt. “So we know it would take the whole team effort, and this is great.”
The Nassar is the final major tournament before Monday’s State Boys Championship and simultaneous Tournament of Champions at Hopewell Valley in Hopewell. Bergen County, with five of 24 teams, could make a great showing.
Bergen Catholic appears poised to vie for a record-setting fourth TOC title, while Pascack Hills is capable of challenging for the Group 2 crown. They will be joined by defending Group 3 champion NV/Old Tappan, Group 3 contender Northern Highlands and Group 4 Ridgewood.