VASSALBORO — A year ago, the Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth golf teams both felt the disappointment of coming up short after being deemed favorites going into the team state championships.

Apparently the tag was just applied a year too soon.

Scarborough compiled an impressive score of 305 to edge SMAA rival Cheverus by three strokes for the Class A championship, and Cape Elizabeth blew away the Class B field by 24 strokes with a score of 319 at Natanis Golf Course.

Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln won its third straight Class C title by a 14-stroke margin.

Scarborough had five strong rounds, with no player shooting worse than 80, led by Anthony Burnham’s even-par 72. Burnham’s eagle on the par-4 ninth hole, when he spun a 140-yard 9-iron about 10 feet back and into the hole, was the day’s most significant shot.

“That’s the hardest hole out here. An eagle on that hole is almost a four-shot difference over the rest of the field,” said Scarborough Coach Mike Murphy. “The scoring average on that hole has to be 5-plus.”

“It was a team effort and everybody did their part, and I think we all played great,” Burnham said.

Thirty-one five-person teams qualified for the state tournament – 11 in Class A and 10 each in B and C. Class A and B teams played on the 6,077-yard Tomahawk course, while Class C teams played the 5,876-yard Arrowhead course. Both are par-72 layouts.

Each team counted its four best scores. Among the 143 total players were 12 girls, including Scarborough senior Elizabeth Lacognata, who shot 74. When Scarborough finished fourth in 2016 – six shots behind champions Gorham – Lacognata’s round of 87 counted as the Red Storm’s fourth score.

“On my part, I’m a whole different golfer than I was last year,” Lacognata said. “I worked really hard this past summer. I just didn’t really have the practice that I needed (last year) to be a good player at that point.”

Scarborough’s other players were Ian Trumpler, who shot 79, and Cam Chamberlain and Ethan Mason, both with 80s.

“Really, all five of those players came through,” Murphy said. “It’s a one-(day) deal and you never know. We didn’t finish the deal last year, and this year, a 305 is a fantastic score in a state championship situation.”

With players scattered across the courses after a shotgun start, teams scores are next-to-impossible to ascertain while play is in progress. For most of the round, the speculation was that the Class A title would be between Scarborough and SMAA champion Thornton Academy, which wound up third with a score of 314, led by sophomore Armand Ouellette’s 75.

It turned out Cheverus was Scarborough’s most serious challenger, especially after the Stags’ No. 3 player, Conner MacDonald, posted a 72 to tie Burnham and Mt. Ararat’s Caleb Manuel for Class A medalist honors. Cheverus also got sub-80 rounds from Tom Higgins (75) and Jeremy Baker (79), while Nick Giancotti shot 82.

“It comes down to (three strokes), but everyone bogeyed their last hole of the day, so there’s your difference,” said Cheverus Coach A.J. Simokaitis.

Working for every shot was something Cape Elizabeth focused on this season, according to senior Ryan Collins, who shot a team-low 76.

Senior Max Altznauer (83) and juniors Chris Laprade (77), Austin Legge (83) and Mia Spencer (91) also competed for the Capers. Collins, Altznauer and Legge were part of Cape’s 2015 championship team.

“You’ve got to stay in it the whole time. That’s kind of what we were preaching on the bus ride up,” said Collins. “Austin Legge shot 83. He had two triple (bogeys), but he stayed in it. He made some birdies after that. That’s kind of what we needed.”

“I feel like winning it as sophomores really put (expectations) on us as juniors, and we didn’t really pull through with the win,” Altznauer said. “This year, I was practicing a lot. I have blisters all over my hands. I was really grinding, especially toward the end of the year as states were coming around. It just meant a lot. There’s a lot of sentimental value to this trophy.”

Nokomis was second in Class B with a score of 343, and Waterville placed third at 346. Defending champion Erskine Academy, which uses Natanis as its home course, was fourth at 351. Every Class B team except Cape Elizabeth had to count at least one score in the 90s or higher.

In Class C, Mattanawcook was led by three-time individual champion Logan Thompson, who shot a 2-under 70, and Max Woodman with a 75. The Lynx scored 326 as a team. Houlton was the runner-up at 340.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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