October 14, 2012

HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Weather no factor for winners

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

VASSALBORO -- Cold and windy conditions affected scores at the state individual high school golf championships Saturday with a few notable exceptions.

click image to enlarge

ON THE GREEN: Maine Central Institute’s Gavin Dugas putts on the 15th green during the individual golf state championships Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. Dugas shot 80 to finish tied for sixth in Class B.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

Maranacook High School's Luke Ruffing, swings for the green on the 15th hole during the High School Individual Golf Championship at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro on Saturday.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

INDIVIDUAL STATE CHAMPS

Class A: Mike Caron, Gorham
Class B: Reese McFarlene, Cape Elizabeth
Class C: Sam Grindle, Deer Isle-Stonginton
Girls: Alice Hwang, Bangor

While most of the participants struggled to break 80, Gorham's Mike Caron, Cape Elizabeth's Reese McFarlane and Deer Isle-Stonigton's Sam Grindle shook off blustery conditions at Natanis Golf Course to win state championships.

Caron fired a 75 to win the Class A individual title by a stroke over Brunswick's Brad Smith while McFarlane's 74 was three strokes ahead of the field in Class B. Grindle ran away with the Class C championship with a 4-under par 68 that was six strokes better than his closest competitor. Bangor High School junior Alice Hwang shot 84 to win the schoolgirl title.

Although there were no titles for central Maine golfers this fall, many fared well. For the second year in a row, Maranacook junior Luke Ruffing finished runner-up in Class B, shooting 77 to tie Yarmouth's Red Desmith for that spot.

"I struck the ball amazingly well," he said. "I just couldn't get anything to fall with the putter. I missed one or two five-footers that lipped out on me."

Winthrop sophomore Taylor Morang finished in the top 10 in Class C for the second year in a row, shooting a career-best 78 to take fifth place.

"I feel pretty good," Morang said. "I had a strong back nine."

Morang shot 36 on the back with a pair of birdies to finish six strokes better than he did last fall.

Maine Central Institute sophomore Gavin Dugas shot 80 to finish in a tie for sixth place in Class B, despite double bogeys on his final two holes.

"I was playing pretty good until 17," he said. "I hit a bad shot and got behind a rock, then I chipped it over the green and two-putted from there. On 18, I shanked it off the tee."

Cony sophomore Thomas Foster met his goal of finishing in the top 10 by shooting 81 to place seventh in Class A. Also finishing in a tie for seventh was Messalonskee senior Justin Rollins.

"I was pretty happy," Foster said. "There were a couple of mistakes where I could have made better choices, but I'm pretty happy."

The season was a clean sweep for Caron, who last week won the Class A state team title with his Gorham teammates.

"It's awesome," said Caron, who shot 77 on the same Tomahawk Course last week. "I tripled the last hole last week and I ended up birdieing it this week."

Caron also birdied the 15th hole after a bogey on the par 5 14th.

"That was a key one," he said. "I knew I could make birdies out there but it was tough playing."

As Grindle did last week, McFarlane shot a 69. The Cape Elizabeth sophomore didn't blame Saturday's conditions for the five extra strokes though.

"I just didn't hit it as well today," said McFarlane, who recorded four birdies.. "I didn't recover as well this week."

Since finishing sixth in the individual tournament last fall, McFarlane has played a lot of golf, including the Maine Open and the New England Amateur.

"I play a tour called the U.S. Challenge Cup which travels around New England," he said. "I didn't play that well in this tournament last year, but I've definitely had a lot of improvements in my short game."

For the second straight week, Grindle blistered the Arrowhead Course.

"It was a colder here in the morning," the Deer Isle-Stonington senior said. "But they had plenty of things inside, gloves and hand warmers and all that. It wasn't too bad."

(Continued on page 2)

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