Reese McFarlane of Cape Elizabeth put in a lot of time on his golf game this summer. Whether it was playing in tournaments or practicing, the work paid off.
McFarlane, a sophomore, won the state Class B individual tournament with a 74. A week earlier, playing the same course at Natanis (Tomahawk), McFarlane shot a 3-under-par 69 in the team state tournament. His Cape Elizabeth team was fifth.
“I was really pleased with the way I played,” said McFarlane. “I worked a lot on my short game. My ball-striking improved, allowing me to hit more greens. I made some putts.”
In the regular season, McFarlane, 15, stuck close to par in nine-hole matches. He shot under par a few times and ended up winning the William Cheverie Award from the Western Maine Conference for lowest stroke average (0.3 over par) and had an 11-1 record.
For his performance, McFarlane is the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year in boys’ golf. He will be honored with the other sports’ Players of the Year at the annual banquet in June.
While he has made great strides in his game, the potential and desire to keep improving is strong. McFarlane didn’t travel outside New England to play this summer — which likely will change the next few years. He’s a regular on the U.S. Challenge Cup, a series of junior tournaments in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.
McFarlane who plays left-handed, dealt with a growth spurt when the season began.
“I grew 5 to 6 inches over last winter,” he said. “My swing definitely felt different.”
It didn’t take long for McFarlane’s swing to adjust. When it did, he noticed added distance with all his clubs, but with the same accuracy. McFarlane likely will add a few more inches this winter. He may or may not have another adjustment period but if he does, he’ll be ready. McFarlane plays other sports, which helps him bring a fresh perspective to every golf season.
While golf has a large presence in the McFarlane family, so does swimming.
“I’m not as good a swimmer as my sister or brother, but it’s a good way to stay in shape for the winter,” he said. “I also like to ski on the weekends.”
McFarlane played lacrosse as a freshman but dropped it to concentrate on golf.
“Lacrosse was taking up too much time. I think it paid off,” he said.
Other than playing a round of indoor golf this winter, McFarlane said he won’t touch the clubs again until the spring.
“I don’t have any concrete goals for next season,” he said. “I want to keep improving, work on my short game which is the most important part, and play my best. It would be nice if I could win the individual title again and for our team to have a shot at winning the state title. We return four of our top six players. We’re a young team so we should be good for the next few years.”
McFarlane won by three shots on a cold and windy day.
“I knew everyone was struggling with the tough conditions. I just tried to hit as many greens in regulation as I could and make pars,” he said.
McFarlane started playing competitively at age 9 in Maine State Golf Association junior events. He won the 12-and-under division and three 13-14 age division state titles.
“My swing came naturally for me. My coach, Tim Desmarais, has really helped me on the mental side. He’s also been good at teaching me course management,” said McFarlane.
McFarlane, who carries a 1-handicap, has shot 68 twice for his career best round.
“Reese turned into a true team leader this season,” said Desmarais. “ His best golf is certainly ahead of him.”
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: