Hough sinks putt to clinch golf title

Jon Renza (l. to r.), Coach Kevin Gilligan, Francis Ellis, Paul Toohey, John Hough, Brian Cioffi, Zenon Bishop, Jimmy Slattery and Teddy Morrissey pose with the championship trophy. By Five Boro Sports

As he stepped to the green on the 17th hole at Pelham-Split Rock Golf Course in the Bronx Thursday with a chance to sink the championship-winning putt, John Hough flashed back to his freshman year when junior Tyler Morgan was in a similar situation.

“I remember telling him that he looked so nervous, he looked like he was going to die,” the Fordham Prep senior said. “He told me that maybe someday you’ll know what that feels like.”

Someday became Thursday and Hough sunk the 2-½ foot putt as Fordham Prep defeated rival Iona Prep, 3-2, to win the CHSAA intersectional golf championship. It was the Rams’ third title in four years.

It was only fitting that Hough, one of two seniors on the Fordham Prep roster, clinched the victory one day after he graduated.

“It was exhilarating,” Hough said. “This was the third and I wanted it the most of all because this is my last shot, there’s no next year. I know I’ll remember this one the most of all, for the rest of my life. I was so excited to win it that I think the entire course heard my scream.”

Hough wasn’t fishing for information, but he knew that the CHSAA championship would come down to his second flight match after Jon Renza beat Shane Malloy, 3-and-2, and Paul Toohey defeated Joe Patalano, 6-and-5 for Fordham, while Iona Prep’s Ryan Hudson edged Teddy Morrissey, 3-and-2, and John Martinelli defeated Brian Cioffi, 6-and-5.

After missing a 6-1/2 foot putt on the 16th hole that would have clinched the title, Hough finally ended it on the next hole. He knocked his tee shot about 20 yards from the hole and that’s when Hough first realized how nervous he really was.

“It was the easiest shot in the world,” Hough said. “But I hit it like 15 feet away.”

Hough, who has the highest scoring average on the Fordham Prep team, redeemed himself, though, sinking the winning putt to lead the Rams to their fifth title in their sixth championship appearance.

Hough, though, isn’t done with one of his best weeks ever. He’s off to James Baird State Park in Pleasant Valley to compete in the CHSAA state championship Friday. Hough will join four of his teammates, including Renza, who is the two-time defending champion.

“I’d be lying if I said I don’t want to win tomorrow,” Hough said. “It’s the first time I ever had that mentality. In my freshman year, I ended up tied for ninth. In my sophomore year I wanted to finish in the top six and I again was tied for ninth. Last year I wanted to make the Federation tournament and I finally did. Now that I’ve done that, I want to win.”

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