CHAUTAUQUA, New York ---- Chris McMorrow (Weymouth) had one goal in mind when he went out to Chautauqua Country Club for his second-straight trip to the NJCAA Men's Golf National Tournament. It was to become an All-American and the Massasoit student-athlete did just that becoming the first in school history to earn the award.
McMorrow carded an 83 (+11) on Friday's final round, earning the recent Massasoit graduate 16th place overall during the four-day tournament and NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention recognition.
He becomes not only the first Massasoit men's golfer to earn NJCAA All-American honors, but just the second within Region 21 over the past 20 years. He finished with a program record-low four-day mark of 316 (76+79+78+83=316), besting his total by nine strokes from a season ago.
"Becoming an All-American is a great achievement," McMorrow said. "I've never received praise for anything golf related before college, and to become an All-American at the NJCAA level is something I will never forget.
"I could not have done it without Coach Mike (Croatti) being with me on the course calming me down and being a great caddy on the greens."
McMorrow was consistent throughout the tournament, averaging a 79 per round, as he played his best golf of the year during the Nationals. Coach Croatti pointed out that he thought Chris would have an advantage entering the tournament by playing Chautauqua Country Club last year and knowing what to expect from the course, especially the greens and that he appeared extremely focused prior to and throughout the four-day tourney.
"I was impressed how (Chris) stayed even keeled," Croatti said. "It's a long week. You are going to separate yourself from the pack by your mental approach and I felt Chris did that. A lot of guys fall out of it early because they do not have the mental fortitude. You can't win the tournament in one day, but you can lose it. One of his best attributes was staying even-keeled throughout and knowing when to attack and when to settle for par.
"Becoming an All-American is awesome for Chris, and for the rest of his life he can say that and it is well deserved. He has been really easy and fun to coach and I am happy earning All-American came to fruition for him."
Friday's round started off with some serious peaks and valleys for McMorrow, as he posted two birdies, two bogeys and two double-bogeys in his first six holes. But the veteran sank some clutch par-save putts to finish the front-9 score of 39. During the back-9 McMorrow ran into a little trouble after birdieing the 10th hole, but maintained composure to post an 83 for his final round at Massasoit.
Following McMorrow's round there were still plenty of golfers out on the course and with the top-18 individual scores earning All-American recognition out of the field of 85 total student-athletes, McMorrow and head coach Mike Croatti played the fun or not-so-fun waiting game to see where his score stacked up against the competition.
"It was one of the most stressful times waiting around and watching the scores come in and for me to move around on the leaderboard," McMorrow said. "I knew I was close to getting an All-American spot but I wasn't sure where I would end up. I was a nervous wreck, walking around sitting in the function room just trying to get away from it all for a second. But I received the award of becoming an All-American and I could not be happier. That was the goal I set out for myself this year and I am glad it played out the way it did."
Croatti echoed McMorrow, as the waiting game was not the most enjoyable experience.
"As a coach, I was nervous, so I can only imagine how he was feeling," Croatti said. "To put in all that work and not know where you stand? We had to sweat it out. It's like watching the election and following the results and I was on pins and needles. That was history for him. He put in a lot of hard work and you want to see concrete evidence and All-American status is definitely that evidence. The waiting game was excruciating but it all worked out in the end."
To go along with his All-American recognition, McMorrow rewrote the Massasoit record books during his two years in Brockton. He owns the top scoring average for season and career, top individual round and tournament total at Nationals and the top seven individual rounds in program history.
McMorrow is also just the second Massasoit golfer to compete in consecutive Region 21 Tournaments, joining former teammate Jack DeCoste who played in 2017 and 2018.
- McMorrow's tournament total of 316 marked the lowest in school history and lowest in Region 21 since 2012 when Steve Letterle of CCRI also shot a 316.
- His 16th place finish is the second-best in the Region 21 in the last 20 years, trailing only Greg Strattner of Holyoke CC's second place finish at 7-over-par in 2008.
- His eagle on day one of the tournament on the par-5 13th hole was one of just seven eagles carded throughout the entire tournament.
- He finished tied for sixth in par-3 scoring, averaging 3.2 per par-3.
- He finisied tied for 10th in pars with 39.