TOWNSEND -- Last Thursday at Townsend Ridge Country Club, the North Middlesex golf team accomplished something its head coach Derick Fors had not experienced since his playing days in the late 1990's.
The Patriots locked up the Mid-Wach A regular season league championship with a tight 185-191 victory over Algonquin. Algonquin came into Thursday's match tied with the Patriots for first-place, but Fors' group was determined to bring home the hardware.
"Algonquin was actually tied with us in league record," Fors said. "They had a great team.
"The whole league this year has been phenomenal with the numbers these teams have been shooting," he said. "In the seven years I have been there (at North Middlesex), I have never seen numbers this low."
So, as the North Middlesex head coach eluded to, it was not an easy road to the league crown for the Patriots. North Middlesex's only two losses came to Shrewsbury and St. John's of Shrewsbury.
"It is especially great to win the league with all the good play and strong teams in it," Fors said. "My main thing when I took the job here was to create a different marring. Somewhere where the kids could work, could play and hang out to try and build the program back up to the way it was when I was here."
Fors has indeed built up the program, compiling a 31-7 overall record in the Patriots' last two seasons. This fall, a core combined group of juniors and seniors stepped up to the tee.
"I have talented kids who all came up and played together," Fors said.
The Patriots' number one strokes player is junior Jimmy Walmsley. Walmsley was a league All-Star in both his freshman and sophomore year.
"He is just solid," the coach said. "He shoots around par every match. It is just crazy. Golf is one of the only sports he plays. He has been doing it at a very high level for a long time. If I could've had this kid on my team as a seventh-grader, he would have been a number two. He has been playing junior golf as well. He continues to work hard at it. You can't teach the talent he has."
Senior captain Alex Koble's per-stroke average rested comfortably around 40 in the two-spot for the Patriots. The three-through-seven spots are where North Middlesex was the strongest. Garret Carmichael, junior Tim Hebert, senior co-captain Greg Best, senior co-captain Dylan Conner and senior Ethan Ward.
"I had five other kids whose stroke average was right around 40," Fors said. "In our three-through-seven spots, that is really where we won our matches and our league. In years past, I was taking 42s and 43s; this year it was really rare that I would take a 40. That's why we were shooting such low numbers."
The goal at the start of the year for the golfers was to make the state duals tournament.
That dream will have to be put on hold until Tuesday, when it competes at the district match hosted at Juniper Hills in Northboro.