Tenafly Boys Golf: An Unforgettable Season


(From left to right) Noah Rubach, Michael Crosby, Johnny Minnetian, Charlie Bochner, Hoewon Park, Jayden Ko

Jayden Ko, Staff Writer

Three division titles, a dominant 15-3 record, and our very own Arcola Champion…. The 2023 Tenafly Boys Golf Season has been one of the most remarkable in program history. 

Tenafly’s 1-2 Punch

The past few months have given rise to one of North Jersey Golf’s most dominant one-two punches: Jayden Ko (’23) and Michael Crosby (’23). As Captain, Ko is a two-time 1st team All-County selection in 2021 and 2022 and North Jersey Player-of-the-Year Finalist in 2021. Crosby is a 2nd team All-County selection in 2022 and has solidified his spot in the ranks of North Jersey’s top golfers. Together, they have led Tenafly on a special run over the past couple of months.

1st Place at the Bombers Tee-Off Classic

The Tigers’ season started off with a bang at the Bombers Tee-Off Classic at Meadows at Middlesex Golf Course on April 11. The Tigers came out of the gate firing, taking 1st place by a single stroke against Mendham and Middletown South. The Tigers were led by Ko, who shot a 73, and Hoewon Park (’24), who shot a 77. 

Michael Crosby Takes on Arcola

The most anticipated event in New Jersey high school golf, the Arcola Invitational takes place every year in late April at Arcola Country Club, one of the highest-ranked and most difficult golf courses in the state. With its wicked-fast greens, precipitous terrain, and deep rough, the Arcola Invitational proves year-over-year to be one of the toughest events in the high school circuit. 

However, Crosby pulled off a shocker this year at the Arcola Invitational on April 25, shooting a 74 (two over par) and winning the individual title with a par on the first hole in a three-man playoff. His performance was one for the ages. Interviewed by the Bergen Record, Crosby said, “There’s no better way to end this tournament… It’s my senior year and it’s making everything the best for last.” 

On top of Crosby’s stand out performance, Ko shot a 75, Johnny Minnetian (’23) shot a 87, and Hoewon Park (’24) and Noah Rubach (’24) shot a pair of 88s to lead Tenafly to a 3rd-place overall team finish, beating rivals Old Tappan, Don Bosco, and St. Joe’s.

The Tigers Sweep Division Day

Big North Championship Team Picture

The Tigers carried their momentum into Division Day, a four-way match between all the teams in the National Division, on May 2nd. The Tigers stepped up once again and put up their greatest 9-hole score of the season, shooting 155 and edging out Old Tappan by two shots. They were led by Park and Rubach, who shot an impressive pair of 38s. The Tigers finished 1st among Old Tappan, Northern Valley Demarest, Pascack Valley, and Bergenfield. 

Domination at the Big North

Three days later, on May 5, came the staple Big North Championship at Rockleigh Golf Course. Once again, the Tigers showed up in a big way to win the Division Title with rounds of 71 from Ko, 74 from Crosby, and 81 from Minnetian. They finished 5th overall, another solid performance heading into the postseason. 

State Sectionals

Having qualified with a record of 15-3, The Tigers earned the right to compete in State Sectionals at Preakness Valley Golf Course on May 9. The Tigers posted a respectable 314 and finished 6th overall in an extremely competitive field. Ko qualified for the State Championship as an individual with his 71. In the State Championship at Raritan Valley Country Club, Ko shot a 77 to finish T20 in the entire state. 

Seniors Finish Strong at Counties

Every year, the golf season culminates with the highly-regarded County Championship. The first round is the Odell Nassar Team Championship (where the team title is crowned) and the second round is the Dan Luciano Championship (where the individual title is crowned). Only the top 30 individuals from the first round qualify to the Luciano Championship, and the individual winner is determined by the aggregate score from both rounds. This year, the Nassar was held at Soldier Hill Golf Course on May 11, and the Luciano was held at nearby Hackensack Golf Club on May 18.

Luciano County Championship Top 5 Individuals

Three Tigers qualified for the Luciano Championship: Ko, who shot 74, Crosby, who shot 76, and Minnetian, who shot 82. They were T8th, T14th, and 30th respectively going into the 2nd round. At Hackensack GC, Ko shot a 74, the best score of the entire day, and finished solo 2nd overall. Crosby finished T12th and Minnetian finished T17. All three seniors finished in the top 20 to close out their impressive high school careers. This trio—Ko, Crosby, and Minnetian—have all been core members of the Varsity Golf Team since freshman year, and they went out in style at the Luciano.

Though the Tenafly Boys Golf Team will lose four seniors—Ko, Crosby, Minnetian, and Charlie Bochner—next year, the future of the team is extremely bright. Next year, the team will be led by Captains Park and Rubach, and Coach John Nicolai will return for his 2nd year as Head Coach of the team. With great team depth, strong leadership, and incoming freshman talent, the Tenafly Boys Golf Team will continue to impress in the years to come.