VASSALBORO — Cold and windy conditions affected scores at the state individual high school golf championships Saturday with a few notable exceptions.
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.”
Grindle shot even par 72 last fall but lost the tournament by two strokes to Madison’s Seth Sweet. This year, he wasn’t challenged. He recorded six birdies, two bogeys and 10 pars.
“I started off the day with a 20-25 footer,” said Grindle, who birdied three of the first four holes. “It got me started in the right direction.”
Grindle, whose home course is the nine-hole Island Country Club on Deer Isle, has a career-best of 64 at JaTo Highlands, site of his conference playoffs.
Hwang, who was the low junior golfer at the Women’s Amateur this summer, was one stroke better than Yarmouth’s Monica Austin. Westbrook’s Paige Fogg and Greely’s Sarah Hansen tied for third place with 86s.
Local finishers in Class A include Lawrence’s Tyler Boudreau (94), Erskine’s Shawn Soucie (96) and Messalonskee’s Billy Rollins (96). Competing in Class B were Maranacook’s Cam Brochu (87), Matt Delmar (87) and Tucker Whitman (89) along with Mt. View’s Austin Higgins (96). Local Class C competitors included Winthrop’s Anthony Owens (87), Monmouth’s Robert Vickerson (90), Madison’s Ty Cowan (100) and Forest Hills Evan Worster (111). Among schoolgirls it was Lawrence’s Kelsey Dessent (96), Erskine’s Ashley Chubbuck (97), Forest Hills Kori Coro (101), Waterville’s Lauren Hallenback (105) and Carrabec Kristina Robinson (142).
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638