VASSALBORO – On a very difficult day for scoring, Mike Arsenault of Gorham and Seth Sweet of Madison stood above the rest at the state high school individual golf championships Saturday at Natanis Golf Course.

Freshman Ali Prescott of Fort Kent wasn’t far behind, either.

The one thing they had in common, besides being able to handle the windy and cold weather, was that they took home trophies for being the best in their divisions.

Greg Martin of Ellsworth joined the group, too.

On a day when controlling the golf ball and persevering were challenges, the top schoolboy and schoolgirl golfers did their best to make that happen.

Obviously, Arsenault, Sweet, Martin and Prescott did it the best.

Arsenault, a week after leading his team to the Class A state title, shot an even-par 72 on Natanis’ Tomahawk course to take the Class A individual title by five shots.

Sweet shot a 73 on the Arrowhead course to win in Class C. Martin carded a 77 on Tomahawk to win in Class B, while Prescott was a putting demon and scored a 79 to win the girls’ championship.

Just how tough was the wind?

“I can hit a 5-wood 250 yards,” said Martin. “With the gusts, a couple of times when I hit the club, the ball started coming backwards when it got up there.”

Sweet, a 16-year-old who in July played in the last group on the final day at the Maine Amateur at Kebo Valley, agreed.

“It was pretty windy and really cold,” she said. “The ball didn’t go as far.”

Arsenault, who felt he didn’t play well during the regular season but entered with a lot of confidence because of the team title, used a tried-and-true strategy.

“I just went out and tried to make pars,” he said. “That’s all I was shooting for. I didn’t try to do anything impressive.

“I played well in the team championship (a week ago with a 78). I just had one bad hole, so I thought I could win this.”

Arsenault, a left-hander, did have one impressive shot. He holed a wedge from 30 yards on the par-4 fifth hole for an eagle.

He was 1-under with two holes left and finished with a par and a bogey.

Arsenault credits his coach, Rick Altham, the head professional at Gorham Country Club, for his improvement both in shotmaking and his mental approach.

“He has played a huge role in my game. I can’t thank him enough,” said Arsenault.

“That’s an incredible round of golf on a day like this,” said Natanis owner and golf pro Dick Browne of Arsenault’s 72.

Browne could have also been talking about Sweet.

Sweet, a junior, said he played more conservatively this year. A year ago, he shot 81 and finished 11th, one place from getting a medal.

Sweet had birdies on the fourth, ninth and 15th. He also had four bogeys. On his first hole, he saved par by making a slippery, downhill 10-footer.

“My game has come a long way in the last year,” said Sweet. “My head game is stronger. I don’t get as angry if I miss a short putt.”

Prescott qualified with a 97 to get into the tournament. The target score for girls statewide was 110, but Prescott also has shot 73 at her home course, Fort Kent Golf Club.

She had one birdie and it couldn’t have come at a better time. She sank a 10-footer on her final hole.

“I knew I needed a birdie to break 80. I made four really long putts,” Prescott said.

One of those putts saved her from making a double bogey. She sank a 30-footer on the par-3 10th hole at Arrowhead.

Karli Soracco of Leavitt finished second with an 82 and defending champion Laura Grant of Greely placed fifth with a 91.

The shot of the day was by Erick Lee of Hampden Academy, who was competing in Class A. Lee made a hole-in-one on Tomahawk’s 13th hole, which measures 175 yards. Lee used a 5-iron. 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]