Greely’s Andrew Klein chips out of a sand trap on the fourth hole Friday during the Class A golf state championships at Natanis Golf Club in Vassalboro. Klein won the individual title with 5-over 77 and led Greely to the team championship. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

VASSALBORO — If the Arizona Beverage Company needs a pitchman for its Arnold Palmer – the lemonade/iced tea combination named in honor of the golf great – Greely High senior Andrew Klein is a candidate.

“Best drink of all time. I call it birdie juice. I cracked it open and made a birdie on the next shot,” Klein said of that important sip on the 10th hole Friday at Natanis Golf Course’s Tomahawk course. “I only drank one today (during the round), but I had one on the bus up here. They’re pretty sugary.”

On a day during which the wind played havoc with shots throughout the round, Klein was consistent. Klein shot a 5-over 77, giving him a two-stroke margin for the Class A individual title. Klein also led a strong overall performance by Greely, which posted a score of 322 to claim the Class A team championship by 14 strokes over Scarborough.

It’s the first Class A title for the Rangers since 1990, and the first in any class since Greely won the Class B championship in 1995.

“I’ve been waiting for years for this moment. I texted my friend who’s currently in college who we played with last year, who really wanted to win. I told him today was for him. Ben Rosenthal, it’s for him today,” Klein said. “It’s my senior year, I came out here knowing this was my last round in these four years, and I wanted it to count.”

Gorham’s Aiden Enck putts on the fourth green while fellow competitors Colin Merritt of Edward Little and Jack Stowell, right, of Falmouth look on. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Remy Levin, a Bonny Eagle junior, shot 88 to take the girls’ title – one stroke better than Ruth Weeks of Greely.

“The wind really made it the worst. It wasn’t too bad, but I didn’t play my best,” Levin said.

Peter Malia of Scarborough and Bennett Berg of Portland tied for second place in the boys’ individual competition, two shots behind Klein.

Depth propelled Greely to the team title. In addition to Klein, DJ Kenney tied for fourth place at 80, Connor Albert placed ninth with an 82, and Nick Montminy tied for 10th with Cony’s Kyle Douin at 83.

Levin pointed to the 6-foot putt she made for birdie on the ninth hole as one of her key shots of the round.

Like Levin, Klein said the wind made the course challenging.

“The wind was howling everywhere,” Klein said. “A couple holes, it was playing 20, 30 yards long or short. It all depended on where you were. It really had an impact on the game. A lot of scores were high today.

“I played really well, for how the wind was. I just had a couple shots I hit super awful. If I hadn’t hit those shots so poorly, I feel like I would’ve been even lower today. But the score I had, I can’t be mad about anything.”

Along with his birdie on the par-3, 125-yard 10th hole, Klein also birdied the par-3, 126-yard fourth. He made three bogeys over his final six holes, but finished with a par on 18 to clinch the win.

Edward Little senior Collin Merritt, who led early in the round, tied for sixth with Mt. Ararat’s Parker Bate and Deering’s Nick McGonagle at 81. Unlike others, Merritt didn’t think the wind was a big factor in his round.

“It was definitely tough, but the past couple of days when we’ve been practicing, it’s been like this. The weather’s been pretty similar. I think that helped a little bit,” Merritt said.

In this season shortened to two and a half weeks by the COVID-19 pandemic, the golfers were glad to be able to play at all, and to have an opportunity to compete for a state championship.

“I think it was organized pretty well, for the amount of matches we had, and how they organized states to keep the numbers down. I think everything was planned out pretty well,” Merritt said.

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