December 5, 2013

Two ties, two solo winners at state golf championships

Titles are shared in the schoolgirl and Class A boys’ divisions as individual champions are crowned.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

VASSALBORO — Chris Billings of Cheverus and Cam Letourneau of Oxford Hills both stumbled late, but it wasn’t enough to spoil their rounds in the state individual golf tournament Saturday at Natanis Golf Course.

Chris Billings of Cheverus watches a tee shot during the high school individual state golf championships Saturday. Billings tied for first place in Class A with a 75.

Photos by Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Bailey Plourde, a freshman at Lincoln Academy, shot a 76 to tie for top honors in the schoolgirl tournament with Jenna Hallett of Presque Isle.

Billings and Letourneau shot 75s to tie for first place in Class A. Luke Ruffing of Maranacook captured the Class B title with a 1-under 71, Robbie Watson of Fort Fairfield won Class C with a 71, and Bailey Plourde of Lincoln Academy and Jenna Hallett of Presque Isle both shot 76 to share the schoolgirl championship.

Players had ideal conditions –warm temperatures and no wind on a sun-splashed day. Classes A and B played the Tomahawk course, while Class C and the girls played Arrowhead.

Both Billings and Letourneau are juniors. Billings double-bogeyed his last hole when he dumped his second shot into the pond in front of the green. Letourneau bogeyed his last two holes.

“The 18th hole was my only slip-up,” said Billings. “I had less than 100 yards in and I hit it fat. After that, I just wanted to minimize the damage and see what happened.”

Billings’ fourth shot went to the back fringe and he two-putted for a double bogey.

“It’s a great layout and always in good shape. I can read the greens well,” said Billings, who shot a 73 in the qualifier at Natanis.

Letourneau didn’t qualify for the individual tournament last year, and this year’s qualifying tournament in which he shot an 84 was his first time playing Natanis.

“I had a couple of birdies but bogeyed my last two holes,” said Letourneau. “I wish I could have had those back.”

Letourneau called it a perfect day to play.

“There was no wind and the greens were in great shape,” he said.

Ruffing, a senior who finished second in Class B the previous two years, was 3 over through nine holes in the shotgun format before he made 12 footers for birdies on No. 2 and 3. He then sank a 1-foot putt for another birdie on the next hole, and got up and down for a birdie on No. 5.

“That was a good stretch,” said Ruffing. “I made clutch pars the rest of the way to stay at 1 under.

“The greens were in beautiful shape. I finally figured out the stroke and my putts were all dead center.”

Ruffing put in extra preparation leading up to the tournament.

“I wanted it so bad. Last week I spent an hour and a half putting and chipping before I played 18 holes,” he said.

Watson credited his putting with the win.

“I putted better than I normally do,” said Watson, a junior. “I eagled the 17th hole, which was my eighth hole. That really got my round going.”

Watson shot an 82 in this tournament last year, which prompted him to change strategy this time.

“I played it safer this time. I hit more irons off tees,” he said.

The scores posted by Plourde, a freshman, and Hallett, a junior and the reigning Maine Junior girls’ champion, were among the lowest in the history of the schoolgirl tournament.

“I shot a 77 on this course during the summer. I had no pressure today,” said Plourde.

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

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

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