The Ocean City High School golf team captured the team title at the Cape May County Championships on Tuesday for the third consecutive season at the par-72 Shore Gate Golf Club.
The Red Raiders finished with a 345.
Middle Township’s P.J. Schulte won the individual title, shooting an 80 that helped the Panthers finish second in team scoring with 366. The junior birdied the final two holes.
Lower Cape May Regional was third with 388.
Ocean City senior Evan Holmes finished second in individual scoring (82), and junior Josh Barnes finished fourth (86). Cape May Tech’s Chris Porto was third (85).
“It is very satisfying,” Ocean City coach Ed Ritti said. “We put together some good rounds. Shore Gate is a really challenging course, and it is a neutral site for everyone, so that why we have it there.”
Last season, the Red Raiders graduated seven of their eight top golfers, so most of the team had little tournament experience prior to Tuesday. Last spring, both Holmes and Barnes played on the junior varsity squad.
“Our expectations this year, I really didn’t know going in to this tournament. We were just going to take it one hole at a time,” Ritti said. “They were just really motivated. It was nice to see them finally have the opportunity after graduating all those seniors and see all their hard work pay off for them and their team.”
Schulte, who finished fourth in the tournament as a freshman and a sophomore, shot a tournament-low 38 on the front nine.
Schulte said the conditions were windy, cold and featured a rainstorm, so playing was tough, which he said made his accomplishment feel even more rewarding.
Last season, Schulte was a first-team Press All-Star and finished third in individual scoring in the Central and South Jersey Group I tournament.
“It feels pretty good,” Schulte, 17, of Cape May Court House said. “To get the win in my junior year, it is a big deal for me and makes me really happy. As a team, I was hoping we could win it, but now that is something to shoot for next year.”
The Panthers’ Andrew Knapp finished fifth in individual scoring, shooting an 87, and teammate Dan Holman finished 11th (97).
“I am playing really solid golf right now,” Schulte said. “I am looking to improve every day. I will enjoy this tonight, but tomorrow it’s back to business to defend our (CAL) conference title.”
The Red Raiders’ Kasey Clifford shot an 88, and teammate Luke Neff shot an 89 to finish seventh and eighth, respectively. T.J. Stanton also shot an 89, finishing ninth.
Ocean City will have 15 matches throughout April.
“We have a tough schedule ahead of us,” Ritti said. “It’ll be tasking, (and) we have to deal with the weather, like the rain and the wind, so we will play under adverse conditions.
“But they have done it at practice. they are also a great group of friends, so they will get through this battle together when they are out there.”
Cape May Tech was fourth in team scoring (389). Wildwood Catholic finished fifth, Wildwood sixth. Both the Crusaders and Warriors finished with 484 points, so the tiebreaker was based on the individual score of the team’s fifth-place golfer.
Lower Cape May’s Joe Baker was sixth in individual scoring (87), and Colby Carter was 10th (92).