The Bronx school, located at 441 E. Fordham Road, won its 4th title in 11 years last month, beating Iona Prep 3-2, before its star golfer Jon Renza went on to win his second straight New York State Federation Championship earlier in June.
“I have a group of very talented kids,” said Fordham Prep coach and Pelham Gardens resident Kevin Gilligan.
Gilligan credits his young team, made up mostly of sophomores and juniors, for pushing themselves all season, including during the blistering cold of March.
“If you love basketball, you will play basketball all year,” he said. “The same can be said about golf. In order to continue improving your game, you have to play all year long.”
Gilligan points to Paul Toohey, as an example of someone who has really improved his game over the course of the year. Having participated in the First Tee program at the Mosholu Golf Course, Toohey played all summer long before stepping onto the links for Fordham Prep.
“He got really good,” Gilligan said, also adding that John Hough qualified recently for the Ike Championship in July. “It was a lot of fun watching everyone grow as players this year.”
Renza (7-2, 38.1 season stroke average), Toohey (8-1, 37.8 SSA) and Hough (8-1, 38.2 SSA) helped lead the team right from the start in a 5-0 victory over Stepinac, continuing their streak against St. Raymond, Mount Saint Michael, Iona Prep, Salesian and Xavier, going 9-1 in the league and 13-2 overall on the year.
The team then went on to beat St. Francis Prep in the quarterfinals of the tournament, winning 5-0, and then ousting St. Joseph’s by the Sea, 3-2, in a tough semifinal battle, that Gilligan claimed was the first time he felt his team could lose.
“We were at Pelham Bay Golf Course and we won two and they won two and it went four extra holes,” said Gilligan. “On the 13th hole, Paul was on par and his opponent went two over. We just squeezed by with the win and then took the championship.”
Blessed with a young team, Gilligan has hopes that they will be able to repeat with another championship next season.
“They just need to continue improving,” he said. “You know Iona Prep and St. Joseph’s by the Sea will be practicing, too.”