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Darien boys golf drives past New Canaan

Dave StewartMay 16, 2019

The Darien boys golf team last won a state championship in — get ready for it — 1932.

The Wave has come close several times, even finishing second five times in recent years, but they haven’t been able to get over the hump and into the winner’s circle.

After his New Canaan team lost to Darien, 145-164 on Wednesday, Rams’ head coach Bill Brown summed up the Wave’s chances this season.

“If they don’t win,” Brown said. “There should be an investigation.”

Darien’s 19-stroke win over the Rams at the Country Club of New Canaan featured four players with rounds in the 30s, including a 1-under par 33 from Henry Sparkman, the No. 4 golfer in the lineup.

Calvin Smith, who last Thursday set a Darien High School record with a 5-under par 31 at Tashua Knolls, was just one stroke behind Sparkman with a 34. Blake Swiggett and Alex Gu each shot 39, and Thomas Ostberg shot a 40.

“Any time you can shoot 145 anywhere it’s great,” Darien head coach Tom O’Donnell said. “This is no pushover golf course. It’s not like it’s a pitch and putt course, so to shoot a 145 on a quality golf course like this, I’d take it every day of the week. And New Canaan is a quality team, so the kids knew they were going to have to play well today and to their credit they did.”

While the Wave remained perfect at 13-0, New Canaan suffered just its second loss of the season and is now 11-2. The Rams will have another test on Thursday when they host the Greenwich Cardinals.

Brown said his team has been playing well, but it was poor timing for a bad day with the postseason approaching.

“We’ve had some good rounds,” Brown said. “We’re doing okay, but every year we try to be playing our best at the end of the season and you don’t want to have a day where you lose by 19 the third to last match of the season.”

The Rams were led by Taylor Pinkernell’s 39, one stroke ahead of Sam Ives, who shot a 40. Ives and Gunnar Granito are usually one-two at the top of New Canaan’s lineup, but this time went second and third, with Granito shooting 42. Marc DeGaetano had a 43, and Liam O’Neill a 46.

Sparkman became the second Darien golfer in a week to have a career day, following Smith’s performance at Tashua Knolls last week.

“For Henry to shoot 33, the low round of his career, is great,” O’Donnell said. “He was feeling pretty good coming in and I was happy to see that for him. Calvin continues to play steady as a rock, and Alex was disappointed but it’s a wonderful thing to have a kid who shoots 39 and feels badly about it.”

As far as New Canaan is concerned, the Wave will be tough to beat going forward.

“I think that they’re by far the best team in the league,” Brown said. “They should be prohibitive favorites for everything. They’re No. 4 kid shot a 33 — that’s quite something. Tom’s a great coach, they have a fantastic team and they were much better than we were today.”

QUOTABLE

“The nice thing about our team is that it’s Alex one day, Calvin the next and they it’s Henry, and the other guys we have on our team have all shot par at some point. So depth is our strength,” — Darien head coach Tom O’Donnell

DARIEN 145, NEW CANAAN 164

(at Country Club of New Canaan, par 34): Darien: Henry Sparkman 33, Calvin Smith 34, Blake Swiggett 39, Alex Gu 39, Thomas Ostberg 40; New Canaan: Taylor Pinkernell 39, Sam Ives 40, Gunnar Granito 42, Marc DeGaetano 43, Liam O’Neill 46; Records: Darien 13-0, New Canaan 11-2

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