The lore of Unionville golf just added another impressive chapter, and this time the girls’ squad played a leading role.
At the PIAA Team Championships on Monday at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, Unionville put all four its best scorers into the top-11 overall, and cruised to the Class 3A State Girls Championship. Not only did Unionville have the five-team field’s best depth, the squad was also dominant at the top, with sophomore Mary Dunigan grabbing the individual medalist honors, a couple strokes better than runner-up Charlotte Scully.
“I am on cloud nine right now,” said Unionville head coach Joe Sudimak.
“Under COVID conditions, I think our school needed a lift and we were happy to do it.”
On the boy’s side, sophomore Win Thomas shared individual medalist honors, and had a big hand in Unionville’s second-place overall team finish at Class 3A . It marks the third time in four years that the Unionville boys have finished among the top-two teams in the state.
And in the Class 2A boys’ competition, Devon Prep wound up in fourth place.
In just season three for its girls’ program, Unionville placed half a dozen strokes ahead of second place Peters Township, 320-334. And just like that, the program is no longer in the shadow of the school’s highly successful boys’ squad.
“To pull off a team championship, you have to be deep – you can’t just have two or three good players,” Sudimak said. “Fortunately, we have that kind of team this year.
“And I would say this is a team that has two No. 1 players.”
That would be Dunigan and Scully, who fired an even-par 72 and a 2-over 74, respectively. Dunigan placed fifth individually as a freshman in 2019, and on Monday she birdied the second, fifth, ninth and 11th holes.
“Mary is shooting lights out. She had it to minus-3 at one point,” Sudimak said.
“We kind of felt like it was fate that we would win, so we are really glad we pulled through,” she said. “We were very confident.
“I made some bogeys coming in and then I 3-putted for par on 18. But overall, I played really solid golf.”
She is the daughter of Applebrook Golf Club professional John Dunigan.
“He helps me out so much. I work with him every day,” Mary said.
“John is a well-known teacher of the game in the country, and that helps,” Sudimak added. “But don’t count out how hard she works.
“On some of his days off, he’s come out and helped our team. To have him on our side is pretty special.”
Scully also got off to an impressive start with early birdies at Nos. 1, 5 and 7.
“I was really happy with how I played. I had a couple 3-putts, and this course is tricky even though it’s kind of short,” Scully explained.
“It was really because Charlotte was so good as a freshman that the program got started when she was a sophomore,” Sudimak added. “So we are really happy for her because she kind of got the whole thing rolling.”
Senior Morgan Santaguida (86) and sophomore Kaitlyn Ferrer (88) were also mkey contributors for Unionville. The team earlier grabbed the District 1 3A girls’ title for first time in 2020 after finishing in second place in 2019.
“We had some fighters out there (Monday) because in golf you are going to have some bumps,” Sudimak said.
“Winning a state championship is so hard to do, and to do it in our third year of the program is just awesome,” Scully added.
“I was hoping for the best coming into this season, so it’s been really awesome we got to play. We came into this knowing that we had a good chance to win it.”
Thanks to some perseverance, the Unionville boys improved its lot significantly as Monday’s round proceeded. The squad was a combined 16-over on the front nine but bounced back and improved by 14 strokes the rest of the way.
“Through the first nine holes, we were underperforming,” said Unionville head coach Jimmy O’Rourke. “But the kids had that never-give-up attitude.
“We were obviously looking for a win, but I am even more proud of how they battled back. It’s so easy in golf just to give up.
“We had a team meeting and said to have 15 seconds of focus before every shot and then mentally relax. And they were playing for the team and not themselves.”
The state champs in 2017, Unionville shared runner-up honors along with Bethlehem Liberty at 303 (18-over-par). Both were 5 strokes behind the state champs from Eric Cathedral Prep.
Thomas torched the back nine in 3-under 32 that featured birdies on Nos. 10, 13 and 18, and zero bogeys. He finished at 1-under 71 to share medalist honors with Cathedral Prep’s Zach Henry.
“He is one of our top players and he had a great round,” O’Rourke said. “It was drizzling the whole day. Plus it was a lot colder than we thought it was going to be.”
Depth played a factor as freshman Danny Donnelly and senior Roy Anderson each carded 5-over 76s for Unionville. Senior Ross Charlton also chipped in with an 80.
“When you look at our scores on the back nine, you see par after par,” O’Rourke pointed out. “Our kids were juiced.”
The Tide wound up fourth out of six teams at the 2A level. Senior Ryan McCabe led the way with a 6-over 77 that included birdies at numbers two and 12. He placed sixth individually in a tie with three others.
“I’ve never worried about Ryan,” said Devon head coach Tony Ball. “He’s been a rock for us all season. He’s been to this tournament three times.
“The conditions weren’t really favorable and I think he could have shot four to six strokes better.”
Junior Graham White added a 10-over 81 for Devon Prep, and teammates Nick Ciocca and Coleman Miller carded 83 and 84, respectively. The Tide won the team crown in District 12 and later the PIAA Sub-Regional a couple weeks ago.
Devon Prep got started strong on the back nine and opened a 7 stroke lead at one point. But it was downhill from there.
“We had a tale of two nines,” Ball said. “We started on the back side and we were on fire. But we had some wayward shots on the front nine that prevented us from really making a run at winning. It kind of killed the team momentum a bit.”
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