The high school golf season is a preparation for two tournaments in October at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. The state team championships in three classes will be played Oct. 6, followed a week later with the boys’ and girls’ individual championships.

Southern Maine schoolgirl golfers will qualify for the state individual championship next Monday at Willowdale in Scarborough. The cutoff score is 110.

After finishing second and third, respectively, at last year’s schoolgirl championship, Monica Austin of Yarmouth and Sarah Hansen of Greely are looking to win it all. Both have the games to do it

Austin has alternated with Cal Cooper at No. 1 for the Clippers, who are 7-0 but have three of their final four regular-season matches on the road.

Austin, a junior, plays at The Woodlands Club and takes lessons from Paul Piveronas. Hansen, a senior, plays at Val Halla and takes lessons from Brian Bickford, the director of golf.

“Monica will be one of the favorites,” said Yarmouth Coach Greg Baker. “She’s a solid player who hits the ball pretty long. Her focus has been improving her game from 100 yards in. She lives and breathes golf, and plays in as many tournaments as she can.”

In a recent practice round at Willowdale, Austin shot a 73.

Bickford said Hansen, who plays No. 6 for the Rangers, is capable of winning the state title if she’s on her game.

“Sarah is tall and has a long swing,” said Bickford. “She’s very efficient. Sarah had some good early qualifying scores with a 79 and an 82. That’s good playing. She and Monica have constrasting styles. Both are great kids.”

While Greely has had the monopoly on strong girls’ golfers the last two or three years, Yarmouth can boast three strong players in Austin, Grace King and Jordan Brown. All will be back next season, which means the Clippers could have girls as their three top players. That would be a first in southern Maine. The opportunities for talented girl golfers coming out of high school are many.

“Girls’ college golf scholarships are the most under-utilized scholarships in athletics,” said Baker.

 

OCEANSIDE ENDED a two-match losing streak Monday with an 8-1 victory against Erskine Academy at Rockland Golf Club. The Mariners started 5-0 before losing to Gardiner and Cony. Against Erskine, freshman Nick Mazurek won his match 5 and 3, and shot a 33. Junior Reilly Flanagan, at No. 2, won his match.

Mazurek is averaging 38 in nine-hole matches. Flanagan is at 40.

The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference shootout will take place Sept. 26 at Rockland. Class A teams will play on the back and Class B on the front.

 

TWO MATCHES of note in the SMAA on Monday had Scarborough beating Falmouth 7-6 in a match of unbeatens at Willowdale, and Gorham downing Thornton Academy 10-3 at Biddeford-Saco CC. The Rams improved to 6-0 and the Golden Trojans fell to 3-2.

“We have depth and these guys play together as a team,” said Gorham Coach Rick Altham. “It was a team win.”

Gorham has four seniors – Mike Caron, Nathan Roop, Spencer LaPierre and Andrew Scontras – who are playing their fourth year on the varsity.

In addition, Brian Rex and Mike Susi, the fifth and sixth men, shot 42 and 41, respectively, against Thornton Academy.

“When they play well, it takes the pressure off the top guys,” said Altham.

Mike Murphy, the veteran Scarborough coach, called the match against Falmouth, the defending Class A state champion, “one of the best matches I’ve seen in a long time.”

There were two matches decided 1 up, including one between the respective No. 1s, Joe Lesniak of Falmouth and Brendan Hall of the Red Storm. Lesniak birdied the last hole to shoot 36 to Hall’s 37. Matt Hartl also won his match 1 up for the Red Storm.

The three SMAA divisional winners gain automatic berths to the Class A team state championship.

The other three team spots for the state tournament will be up for grabs at the league team and individual qualifying Oct. 1 at Natanis.

The Western Maine Conference qualifying tournament for teams and individuals hoping to reach the states will be Oct. 2 at Willowdale.

 

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

Twitter: TomChardPPH