By Matt Jenkins Staff Writer
The Salem News
---- — BEVERLY — Charlie May is the definition of consistency on the golf course. Yet he was feeling a little self-conscious after finishing Beverly Golf & Tennis’ 18th hole yesterday in the Division 2 state championship golf match.
One of Masconomet’s talented senior captains, May saved par with a tricky uphill putt, then did something he rarely does on a golf course — show emotion. When his putt dropped in from the left edge of the cup, May couldn’t hold back a spirited fist pump.
Moments later as the day’s final scores were being tallied, May could be heard asking his teammates — who had been standing around the 18th green at the time — how his celebration looked.
He might have feared that his fist pump looked lame, but his overall performance was anything but.
May captured his second straight individual Division 2 state title by shooting an even par 70, four shots better than Duxbury’s Nick Drago. His steady play and smooth putting stroke also helped the Chieftains finish third in the state with a team total of 311.
Sandwich and Duxbury each had 309s, with Sandwich winning the title based on its fifth individual score.
While Masconomet came up a bit short in their bid for a second consecutive team title, May’s performance just might have been the talk of the tournament under difficult conditions.
“I made a lot of putts. I was rolling the ball really well and my drives, if I missed the fairway I was just off in the rough,” May said. “I was hitting it pretty straight all in all, and that’s what you need to do here. You have to drive the ball well and putt well.”
May made his putts at just the right times. He needed only 14 putts during his back-9 34, including back-to-back one-putts on holes 13 and 14 that saved par. One-putts on holes 11 and 16 also accounted for his two birdies on the back.
Not known for his length off the tee, May is more of a steady golfer who avoids trouble. Still, he knows how to scramble when he needs to.
On the 476-yard par-5 13th, he hit a drive down the right side of the fairway that squirted off into the rough, bringing a pair of trees into play. His second shot made direct contact with the trunk of the second tree and ricocheted roughly 10 yards behind the original spot. He then put his third shot 80 yards from the green and dropped his approach 10 feet from the hole.
Naturally, he hit the putt for par.
“I’ve been saying it for the last couple years, but to me he’s the best player in the state, and I thought the talent in Division 2 this year was phenomenal,” Masconomet head coach Ben Hodges said of May. “His putting saved him a lot. He was making bombs (from) 20-30 feet.”
May’s putting secret was to simply take his time and trust his read.
“I definitely made sure to read putts well before I committed to a putt,” said May, who is undecided on what college he will attend next year. “The greens are definitely sloped and fast in some parts here.”
As well as May played, however, he was more concerned with his team’s performance.
Zack Staub and George May (Charlie’s younger brother) joined him with sub-80 rounds. Staub carded a 77 and George May produced a 78. Matt Peacock’s 86 was the fourth score Masconomet counted.
“Personally, I thought four 75s for 300 would definitely win, and the winner ended up 309. The conditions were hard, though,” May said of the cold, windy weather yesterday morning. “Four scores in the 70s would have been pretty good.”
The Chieftains just missed another state title, but it was a solid defense of their crown.
“I’m very proud of the kids. A couple of the seniors have three state finals appearances: an eighth place, we won the title last year, then a third this year,” Hodges said. “It’s very difficult to repeat. Golf is probably one of the harder sports to repeat in because there are so many variables that go along with it. Sometimes the stars don’t always align. We definitely enjoyed it last year, and I’m very proud of how the kids played today, too.”
May and fellow seniors Staub, Peacock and Dan Reblin were having a hard time believing their Masconomet golf careers had come to a close yesterday afternoon.
“I wouldn’t want to think about that yet,” May said. “I became such a better golfer from playing Masco golf. That was my first tournament experience and before I didn’t really think I’d have a future maybe in this. But I had so much fun. Mr. Hodges has been great and I had so much fun with the kids on the team. They pushed me to be a better player.”
Also in Division 2, local individuals Tim Richmond of Salem and Kevin Dyer of Beverly competed yesterday. Richmond had a very good, consistent round, finishing with a 76. Dyer played well on holes 1-9 (39) and finished with an 83.