RUMSON, N.J. - In a bit of a rarity, Holy Spirit golf coach Frank Martire turned into a caddie following Monday's state golf tournament/Tournament of Champions at Rumson County Club.
Martire was more than willing to do some heavy lifting for senior Jon Brestle, who shot a 2-over-par 73 and finished 1 stroke behind champion Fraser Graham of Princeton, who shot a 72.
Even though he didn't win, Brestle put on quite a performance, as did another South Jersey athlete, Louis Kelly, a junior at Gloucester County Institute of Technology (GCIT).
Kelly also shot 73. Technically, Brestle finished fourth and Kelly fifth after the match-of-cards system that is used to break the ties. Both were 1 shot off of forcing a playoff for the victory.
"The way he played, this was the least I could do was carry his bag after it was over," Martire said.
As well as Brestle and Kelly fared, they will no doubt have some sleepless nights replaying the round in their head, wondering how they could have made up that 1 stroke.
"There is nothing worse than losing by one or two," Kelly said. "I thought it was here for the taking."
Brestle, who will attend Northwood University in West Palm Beach, Fla., said that, like Kelly, he goes into every tournament believing he can win, even one that includes the best golfers in the state.
"I think every golfer looks back and thinks of shots he could have made," Brestle said. "But it's an accomplishment to finish second."
What is interesting is that the golfers didn't know how they fared until they reported back to the clubhouse and saw all the scores.
When Brestle finished, he was given a bear hug by Martire, and the two walked back to the clubhouse hoping 73 would be the low score. Even after finding out his golfer was 1 shot off, Martire was beaming.
"Great effort by a great kid," Martire said. "This is great for our school and great for him."
Plus, at least Brestle had his individual state Non-Public A title to take home. Kelly competed in Group 2 and had to see Princeton's Graham on top of that leader board as well.
"I am a fighter and grind it out on the golf course," Kelly said. "I thought that even or 1 over par would win, and unfortunately I was right."
Still, with all the pressure in golf, to finish 1 stroke off the lead is quite an accomplishment.
On this day, Brestle and Kelly carried the banner for South Jersey golf in admirable fashion. That's why it only made sense that at least in Brestle's case, his coach was the one doing the carrying at the end.
Individuals: Graham Fraser, Princeton, 72; Jacob Stockl, A.L, Johnson, 73, Anthony Alex, Wayne Hills, 73; Jon Brestle, Holy Spirit, 73; Louis Kelly, GCIT, 73; Charles Edler, Rumson, 74; Chad Hunt, Hunterdon Central, 74, Harrison Shih, Bergen Catholic, 75; Ryan Hengerer, Hillsborough, 75, Jake Goldenring, Newark Academy, 75; L.J. Georgetti, St. Augustine, 75; John Havay, North Hunterdon, 75.
Other South Jersey finishers: Jacob Morales, Cumberland, 76*; Eric Spiller, Cherry Hill East, 78; Sal Capelli, Pitman, 80; Zack Arsenault, Shawnee, 81; Matt DiMeglio, St. Augustine, 83; Colin Goan, Cherry Hill West, 83; Cody Dazen, St. Augustine, 83; James Kelly, Middle Township, 83; Vince Kwon, Cherry Hill East, 84; Tyler Magrann, St. Augustine 84; Alex Hicks, Middle Township, 84.
Teams: 1. Hunterdon Central, 312; 2, Ramapo, 318**; 3, Hopewell Valley, 318; 4, Rumson, 321; 5. Delbarton, 322; 6. St. Augustine, 325.
Group 1: Rumson, 321; Point Pleasant Boro, 348; North Warren, 349; New Providence, 366.
Group 2: Hopewell Valley, 318; Ramsey, 334; Middle Township, 344; Mahwah, 349.
Group 3: Ramapo, 318; Northern Highlands, 338; Shawnee, 346; Montgomery, 349.
Group 4: Hunterdon Central, 312; North Hunterdon, 333; Livingston, 340; Howell, 341.
Non-Public A: Delbarton, 322; St. Augustine, 325; CBA, 330; Bergen Catholic, 341.
Non-Public B: Montclair Kimberley, 332; Newark Academy, 345; Pingry, 370; St. Rose, 377.
* lost in a playoff for the Group 3 individual championship.
**took second in a match of cards.