VASSALBORO — Seth Sweet didn’t take long to get started at Saturday’s individual golf state championships.

The Madison Area Memorial High School senior birdied his first hole. He sank a 10-foot putt for par on his final hole and played steady golf in between, finishing at two-under par 70 to capture his second Class C title in a row.

Deering’s Joe Walp and Sanford’s Ben Bell shared the Class A championship with 75s, while Lincoln’s Malcolm Oliver edged Maranacook’s Luke Ruffing by a stroke for the Class B title. Fort Kent sophomore Ali Prescott repeated as schoolgirl champ. Winthrop freshman Taylor Morang made the shot of the day, a hole-in-one on the par 3 12th.

Sweet came into the tournament with two goals in mind: to repeat as Class C champion and to shoot the low score of the three classes. Playing on the Arrowhead Course at Natanis, Sweet accomplished both goals. Sam Grindle, who played in Sweet’s foursome, shot the second low score of the day at 72.

“I feel like I played pretty well,” Sweet said. “I had some good putts in there. I was scrambling on the front nine on the last few holes, but other than that I played pretty well.”

Sweet finished with four birdies and two bogeys on a course in which he has a career-best 66. Other than a couple of recreational rounds, he’s done until spring when he will begin preparing for Division I Old Dominion University, a school to which he recently made a verbal commitment.

“He’s pretty driven,” Madison coach Heath Cowan said. “He works at it. You don’t get to the level he’s at by going out and playing recreationally. There’s a lot of pressure on him. Everybody expected him to shoot under par, and to go do that in these conditions is a good round.”

The course was wet after a couple of days of rain, and the gusting winds had an effect on play. Greens, however, were fast and firm. Oliver, a senior at Lincoln, shot 73 on the Tomahawk Course, which hosted the A and B championships. He won despite a two-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball on the second hole.

“I stuck it to about a foot, but when I marked it I found out it wasn’t mine,” Oliver said.
Both Oliver and one of his playing partners hit drives that plugged in the fairway within 10 feet of each other. And both were playing Titleist 2 balls.

“I called a penalty on myself and went back and hit that one,” said Oliver, who finished with a double-bogey 6 on the hole instead of a birdie.

Ruffing, a sophomore, would have liked to have his 12th hole back.

“I had 134 yards which is usually a 9-iron,” Ruffing said. “I decided to lay up short of the green with a pitching wedge and chunked it really bad and chunked my pitch shot.”

Ruffing, who is a member at Natanis, had three birdies during his round of 74.

“I played pretty well considering the wind,” he said. “But . . . congratulations to Malcolm Oliver, but I just wanted this one so bad.”

Morang scored his ace on his next-to-last hole, the 12th, which with the pin up front played 112 yards.

“I hit a gap wedge, and it hit right behind the hole and spun back in,” Morang said.
Morang birdied his final hole to finish at 83, one stroke behind senior teammate Tyler Foster.

Prescott won her second schoolgirl title despite a poor round of 87 by her standards. Her knee was operated on at the end of March for an ACL tear she suffered while skiing, and she only has been back playing golf for seven weeks.

“Last year, I shot 79; today I stunk,” Prescott said.

Several other central Maine golfers competed Saturday. In Class A, Erskine’s Simon Rollins finished in a tie for sixth place with 80 while Ethan Pearl of Nokomis finished tied for ninth with 81. Cony’s Zach Gagne shot 90, Mt. Blue’s Drew Ferrari 94 and Messalonskee’s Justin Rollins 96.
In Class B, Mt. View’s Erik Larrabee shot 85, Maine Central Institute’s Gavin Dugas 91, and Winslow’s Ryan Dutil and Justin Kervin shot 94 and 104, respectively. In Class C, Rangeley’s Darren Jannace shot 104.

Among schoolgirls, Lawrence freshman Kelsie Dessent finished in a tie for seventh place with 98, while Erskine’s Ashley Chubbuck also placed in the top 10 with 99. Oak Hill’s Alexis Priest shot 113 and Rangeley’s Olivia Jannace 142.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638
[email protected]

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