St. Joseph’s golf team should also have bright future

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

EDISON— The St. Joseph High School golf team finished the 2004 season 8-6, but an assortment of young golfers look to make the 2005 Falcons a force to be reckoned with.

Despite exiting the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament earlier than planned with a first-round loss to an Old Bridge team the Falcons already defeated twice, two juniors qualified for individual play in the GMC Championships.

Nick Passafiume shot an 83 to finish among the top 20 of the GMC’s finest, while classmate Ed DeGottal finished the individual tournament with a 90. Passafiume and DeGottal are expected to help the Falcons challenge perennial powerhouses East Brunswick and Piscataway for a GMC title next year.

"Nick is just starting to grasp the idea of course management," St. Joseph head coach Ryan Lechner said. "This is making him the type of golfer that his skills show that he should be. He’s an excellent ball striker and long hitter with a solid short game. He’s starting to fine tune some things and he’s been working on his mental approach."

Passafiume was a solid 30s hitter this season with a season low of 38 against Old Bridge at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough.

"Nick’s best performance came against Old Bridge at Glenwood Country Club," Lechner said. "He finished with two pars followed by three straight birdies to win the match for us. He dominated the tight control course."

DeGottal fought through a serious shoulder injury to finish with a strong year.

"Ed had some torn ligaments in his shoulder and you could hear it click each time he swung," Lechner said. "He overcame the injury and shot solid scores. He’s a consistent irons hitter and next year he will be one of our most solid players."

This season the Falcons said goodbye to seniors Kevin Rotondo and Andy King. King was this year’s team captain and Rotondo was selected to the GMC All-Red division team.

"Kevin was a guy we could always count on to consistently shoot low scores," Lechner said. "He shot 39 a couple of times and he came through big for us in a couple matches."

King was a solid golfer at the fourth position all season.

"I will miss what Kevin and Andy did for the team," Lechner said. "They were a good influence on the younger guys."

Junior Mike Pace and sophomore Andrew Carlson came on strong at the end of the year and will be expected to be major contributors next season.

"Mike hits a long ball and he’s one of the toughest competitors you’ll see," Lechner said. "Andrew had some ups and downs this year, but when he’s on, he can consistently put the ball in the fairway and he’s accurate with iron play. I see him really stepping up next year.

"Next year we should be solid and I think we will surprise a lot of people."