Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Tom Chard firstname.lastname@example.org
For a high school golf team to win a state championship, which Gorham, York and St. Dominic of Auburn did Saturday, it needs three players to do well.
Nathan Roop, Gorham: Roop saved his best round of his career for the right moment. He shot a 73 last Saturday at the Class A state team championship at Natanis Golf Club to give the Rams their second state title in three seasons.
Red DeSmith, Yarmouth: DeSmith shot a 1-under 71 to help the Clippers gain third place in a tiebreaker in the Class B state team tournament.
Reese McFarlane, Cape Elizabeth: McFarlane shot a 3-under 69 in the Class B state tournament Saturday at Natanis.
Chris Billings, Cheverus: Billings led the Stags to a third-place finish with a 74 in the Class A state team tournament Saturday.
AREA TOP FIVE
There are other combinations, for sure, but three golfers in the 70s is pretty hard to beat.
Four golfers' scores are counted in the high school golf championship.
Gorham had that formula with Nathan Roop, Spencer LaPierre and Mike Caron. Roop shot a 73, LaPierre had a 76 and Caron came in with a 77. The fourth score that counted was an 83 by Andrew Scontras. The Rams finished with a 309 total, one of the lowest winning totals in tourney history.
Roop had a career round in competition. The Rams entered the Class A event favored. They were the best team during the season in the SMAA and of the seniors, three of them (Caron, Roop and LaPierre), were in the top five as sophomores when Gorham won the state title two years ago.
Gorham was well prepared to win another one. Roop and Caron said the team has played several times at Natanis, in competition and practices, over the past three years.
"We have a lot of support among the coaches and our parents," said Caron. "They enable us to get on the course where both the team and individual tournaments are being played. Playing a course several times enables you to build strong course management skills."
Gorham's current team was built by a strong junior program at Gorham Country Club, led by the head pro, Rick Altham, who doubles as the high school coach. The seniors will graduate and the Rams will have to start the rebuilding process again.
Perhaps no golf course in the state has a better junior program than the one that feeds Greely and Yarmouth.
The Val Halla junior and First Tee programs have turned out talented golfers, not just in this era, but long before Gary Rees was the pro and before that Mike Herlihy.
Both teams have professionals as their coaches -- Brian Bickford at Greely and Greg Baker at Yarmouth.
Greely, which had two players shoot in the 70s, finished five shots behind Gorham.
York, with an impressive winning score of 311 in Class B, had four players shoot in the 70s, led by Kyle Cone's 75.
It was the second consecutive state championship for the Wildcats.
St. Dominic, which also won a second straight title, had two scorers in the 70s, led by Zack DeBlois' 74. The Saints' third scorer just missed the 70s, shooting an 80.
THE ACTION shifts Saturday to the individual championships for boys and girls at Natanis. The team championships provided a glimpse of some of the scores that could be shot in boys' individuals, which will be contested as usual in Classes A, B and C.
Reese McFarlane of Cape Elizabeth shot an impressive 3-under-par 69 in the team competition. Sam Grindle of Deer Isle-Stonington also shot a 69. They were achieved on different courses.
Natanis has two 18-hole courses, named Tomahawk and Arrowhead. McFarlane played Tomahawk and Grindle played Arrowhead. McFarlane was 5-under with five holes to play before bogeying two of them. McFarlane, a sophomore, is playing with a lot of confidence. Still, there are several other golfers in Class B and in the other classes with a similar mindset.
Red DeSmith of Yarmouth shot a 1-under 71 on Saturday on the same course as McFarlane. Luke Ruffing of Maranacook had a 73, Drew Long of Camden Hills shot 73 and Daulton Wickenden of Camden Hills had a 76.
In Class A, LaPierre and Caron could be in contention for individual honors. Kyle Megathlin of Greely shot a 74 in the team championship, and others such as Chris Billings and Andrew Cloutier of Cheverus, Joe Lesniak of Falmouth and Brendan Hall of Scarborough are more than capable of shooting in the low to mid 70s again.
IN THE SCHOOLGIRL championships, Ali Prescott of Fort Kent is the two-time defending champion but finished second to Jenna Hallett of Presque Isle in the recent Penobscot Valley tournament. Hallett had an 87 to Prescott's 89. Alice Hwang of Bangor shot an 86 from the boys' tees in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships.
Monica Austin of Yarmouth and Sarah Hansen of Greely are two golfers to watch from southern Maine. Austin shot an 88 last Saturday playing from the boys' tees in the state team competition.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: