CUMBERLAND – Henry Fall and Joe Walp walked up the 15th fairway Thursday at the Val Halla Golf Club, discussing some recent holes.

Fall, who will attend Elms College in Chicopee, Mass., said to Walp, “Sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes you don’t.”

Fall should know. Walp beat him for the Maine Junior Golf boys’ 15-17 title, 4 and 3, ending their title match on the 15th hole, where Fall won last year.

“I didn’t even remember from last year, but it is ironic,” said Fall, who plays out of Bath Country Club. “I just didn’t have it today. It happens. That’s golf.”

Walp, who will be a junior at Deering High, made the clutch shots he needed. He drove the ball exceptionally well and long, and continually put himself in position for birdie putts.

“This feels pretty good,” said the 16-year-old Walp. “I always see that list of champions every year, and I wanted to get my name on it.”

Karli Soracco of Leavitt High won the girls’ title, beating Meghan Bickford of Val Halla, 5-and-4. Reese McFarlane of Purpoodock won the boys’ 13-14 division, beating Daulton Wickenden of Rockland, 3-and-2. And Robbie Watson won the 12-and-under title, beating Ethan Shepard, 9-and-8.

Walp ended Fall’s reign by winning four of the last five holes after Fall evened the match with birdie putts on 9 and 10. But Walp parred the 11th, and when Fall’s putt to save par lipped out, Walp led by a hole.

“Six feet uphilll, moved right to left,” said Fall. “I had a good stroke, it just snapped at the end and lipped out. I didn’t feel like I lost the tournament on that, but it was just too bad. I gained a lot of momentum with those two birdies and lost it on that hole.”

They halved the 12th, then Walp took control. His second shot on 13 left him about 5 feet from the pin, while Fall’s second shot from the rough on the left — a 9-iron he tried to hit easy — flew over the green, past the cart path and into the woods. It took Fall two shots to get onto the green, where he conceded the hole to Walp.

Then on 14, Walp again was accurate and on the green in two, while Fall shanked his second shot into the woods. He had to chip out onto the green and actually saved a 5 on the par-4 hole with a long putt. But Walp parred the hole to go 3 up.

“I had a little bad luck on those back-to-back holes,” said Fall.

Walp, meanwhile, played as well as he could and ended it on the next hole, again leaving himself with a short birdie putt that Fall conceded after missing his birdie attempt.

“I was hitting most of the fairways,” said Walp. “And I didn’t put myself in trouble. I had a lot of looks at birdies.”

The win gives him confidence for the high school season.

“I know I can play with the best,” he said. “And if I play well, I’ve got a good shot at beating a lot of people.”

Soracco, who did not play in the tournament last year, took control of her match early and never let Bickford, who finished second for the second consecutive year, get back in.

“She’s just a great competitor,” said Bickford, who will be a Greely senior. “She did great.”

Soracco, who will be a senior at Leavitt, said the match was nerve-wracking but she managed “to stay calm, and that’s what really helped me.”

McFarlane won his fourth consecutive championship. Last year he won the 13-14 as a 12-year-old. The previous two years he won the 12-and-under title.

This one may have been the toughest.

Wickenden led by four holes after the front nine. But McFarlane put together a birdie barrage to storm back.

“I wasn’t going to go down without a fight,” said McFarlane. “I just tried to make birdies and it came through. I’ve been playing this course since I was 9, so I’m pretty familiar with it.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]


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