The state high school golf team championships, normally held on a Saturday, have been moved to Monday (Columbus Day) because of the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur.

The tournament will be played at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro, beginning with a 10 a.m. shotgun start on Natanis’ two courses, Arrowhead and Tomahawk. Team champions in classes A, B and C will be crowned.

On Oct. 15, the boys’ and girls’ state individual championships will be held. An overall girls’ champion will be determined while the boys’ will have champions in classes A, B and C.

The Southern Maine Activities Association held its qualifying for the state tournament Monday at Natanis. Three teams advanced to the state tournament to join division champions from the league already qualified. Defending Class A champion Gorham qualified by winning the SMAA’s central division. Falmouth, which moved up to Class A this season, won the SMAA’s north division while Kennebunk got in by winning the league’s southern division.

Those schools will be joined by Deering, Cheverus and Scarborough to give the SMAA six teams at the states. Counting the best four scores of five, Deering had the low team score of 312, edging Cheverus (314) and Scarborough (315).

The SMAA’s northern division will have four of the league’s six teams at the state.

“We all had some tremendous matches,” said Scarborough Coach Mike Murphy, referring to his team, Deering, Cheverus and Falmouth of the northern division. “They were some of the tightest matches I can recall for one season.”

Murphy said it’s always a question which school will emerge with the state title.

“Players can’t let a poor hole bother them,” said Murphy. “You have to control your emotions.”

Four of five scores are counted towards a team’s total at the states. A winning team formula usually has two scores in the 70s and two in the low to mid 80s. Cheverus, Scarborough, Falmouth and Gorham have strong chances because of their depth. Deering doesn’t have as good of depth as its northern division rivals, but it has a low scoring 1-2 combination in Joe Walp and Rocco Spizuoco. Walp was co-medalist with Mike Haas-Zanghi of Cheverus with 71s in Monday’s individual qualifying.

Deering was low qualifier because besides Walp’s 71, the Rams got a 78 from Spizuoco, an 81 from Will Barlock and an 82 from Dan Ruhlin.

That was the question for Deering before the season. If it could find, two golfers to go with Walp and Spizuoco.

Barlock and Ruhlin have steadily improved.

“It was exciting,” said Deering Coach Billy Goodman of his team’s first place.

The division champions, Gorham, Falmouth and Kennebunk, played off for the overall league title with Gorham winning. The Rams were led by Mike Caron’s 72.

The Class A state team championship has no clear favorite. Any of the four SMAA northern division teams could win and Gorham can’t be counted out. Falmouth won in Class B last year and could add its first Class A title. 

BRUNSWICK HAD another strong regular season with an 11-1 record under long-time Coach Mal Strange, the former Brunswick Golf Club head pro. The Dragons lost to Bangor in the KVAC championship match. It came down to the sixth man tiebreaker.

“We got on a roll and had a great year,” said Strange.

Brunswick is led by Alex Viola and Brad Smith.

Viola was unbeaten in regular season matches while Smith only lost two.

Sophomore Derek Devereaux has settled into the No. 3 position in his first time out for the sport.

Bangor earned the league’s automatic bid to the state championship by beating the Dragons. 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:
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