Enfield golfer wins state championship in honor of late coach

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Sat., Jun. 16, 2012
Todd Zenczack, Enfield golf head coach, and junior Ryan Zetterholm stand in front of the trophy cases where Zetterholm's Division III State Championship plaque will one day sit. Photo by Colin Rajala.
Todd Zenczack, Enfield golf head coach, and junior Ryan Zetterholm stand in front of the trophy cases where Zetterholm's Division III State Championship plaque will one day sit. Photo by Colin Rajala.

Enfield High School junior Ryan Zetterholm shot a three over par 74 on June 4 to put himself into contention to win the CIAC Division III boys' golf championship at Crestbrook Park in Watertown, Conn. Zetterholm, who teed off at 9:48 a.m. and finished his round around 2 p.m., would have to wait more than four hours to see if his score would hold up against the pairings that went out after him.

“I must have texted him 50 times, I was literally pacing up and down my kitchen,” said Enfield golf head coach Todd Zenczack. “I was more nervous than he was and I didn’t even touch the clubs that day. I could tell when we left and when he was waiting that he was nervous, but he was confident because it was a good score.”

Zetterholm texted updates to Zenczack and his mother, Sharren, so much that his phone died during the wait. He battled the time alongside his father, Eric, for the remainder of the afternoon. Unable to bear the wait, Ryan headed out the range to hit some balls and to the practice green to work on his short game with some chipping and putting.

“Initially I did not think my score would be good enough to win it, because last year I shot one stroke better and came in fourth,” Zetterholm said. “Once I realized the conditions everyone was playing with, I thought I had a shot.”

Zetterholm talked to the groupings as they came in and kept asking if anyone had broken 74. He soon found out that his three over par performance may be more impressive than he thought. Just after 6 p.m. Zetterholm was notified that he tied in first place with Jay Hogan of Holy Cross and would be named a state champion and co-medalist.

“It feels great to represent Enfield High and win a state championship,” Zetterholm said. “I have had a lot of close finishes but had never won, so it felt really good to win.”

As a sophomore, the lefty finished in a four-way tie at the Division III state championships held at Fairview Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, Conn. Zetterholm expected to be near the top of the leader board at this year’s tournament and a dark horse to win it all. His sights were set on winning the whole thing from the get-go for former coach Bob Lengyel, golf coach at Enfield and Enrico Fermi High School for more than 40 years. Shortly after Lengyel unexpectedly passed away in January, Zetterholm posted on Facebook that he was going to win the state championship in his honor. The team dedicated their season to Lengyel and honored him by putting his initials on the sleeves of their jerseys with a bucket hat over them, Lengyel’s trademark.

“I told Ryan he’s [Lengyel] celebrating up there that night, he was dancing and having a good time,” Zenczack said. “You knew he was looking down on you and proud of your performance.”

Zetterholm has been swinging clubs and playing the game since he was 3 years old. He began playing in competitive leagues four years ago. Last summer he followed up his fourth-place tie at the state championship by finishing ninth in the Connecticut Professional Golfer’s Association’s Junior Golf Association Player of the Year point standings. He placed in the top nine in seven out of the nine events he played in. Zetterholm looks to improve as a golfer this summer by competing in tournaments and expects to win the state championship again in his senior year. 


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