LITCHFIELD — Depth is the name of the game when it comes to high school golf.

The Gardiner Area High School golf team, despite some mixed results, posted its lowest score of the season to down Maranacook 163-193 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B semifinal match at the Meadows Golf Club.

“The previous low was 165. We don’t have anyone that goes super low for us as an individual, but we have five, six, seven guys that can all be under 45 on a given day,” Gardiner coach Patrick Quinn said. “It’s nice to have that kind of depth.

“…Great team win. We had Ryan Gay a couple years ago — who was a great individual player — but we haven’t had this kind of depth in a long time.”

The Tigers (11-0) advanced to the KVAC Shootout Thursday at 2 p.m. at Rockland Golf Club with the win, where they will face Camden Hills, Maine Central Institute and Erskine.

Gardiner topped the Eagles twice during the regular season, but will likely need another season-best effort to hang with the Windjammers and Huskies.

No. 3 Chad Prince came through with the low round Tuesday with a 4-over-par 38 on the back nine, as he had a double bogey on No. 16, two bogeys and six pars in the round.

“We’re undefeated and we’re doing good,” Prince said. “I’m hoping to shoot lower in the KVACs.”

The Tigers’ No. 1, Brian Dunn, had the next lowest score with a 40, while Seth McFarland (42) and Brady Smith (43) rounded out Gardiner’s top four.

“They’re undefeated for the season and we came in the underdog,” Maranacook coach Ryan Meserve said. “We had nothing to lose; we’re playing with house money at that point basically. They’re a really good team; they got four scores in the low 40s and one in the high 30s today so it’s hard to beat that.”

As for Black Bears (4-8), No. 2 Matt Gyorgy rebounded from a tough start to settle in with a series of pars down the stretch to shoot a 42.

“I started out pretty poorly actually and then it kept steadying out as I kept going,” Gyorgy said. “(I started) double, bogey, bogey, double and then I pared four of the last six.”

No. 1 Connor Ireland was next with a 46, followed by No. 3 Jacob Ide (51) and No. 4 Mack Rogers (54).

For both team’s top golfers though, Tuesday was an exercise in just how humbling golf can be for good players at times,

Dunn has been consistently Gardiner’s top golfer this season, but got off to a near disastrous start as he pushed his opening tee shot — an iron on the 502-yard, dog-leg-right par 5 — into the tree line along the right side.

Fortunately, the ball kicked back into the fairway some 15 yards past the red tees, but he was still forced to settle for a triple bogey on back nine’s only par 5.

“I hit the ball a lot more right than I thought I was going to,” Dunn said. “I was lucky that it bounced out and that it wasn’t (out of bounds).”

From there he settled in with a string of four straight pars en route to the 6-over finish.

“I started off with a triple, which wasn’t too good, but I ended up getting myself together and got a couple pars,” Dunn said. “I ended up shooting well. I shot a 40, so I was good with that.”

For Dunn’s teammate, No. 2 Logan Peacock, it was one hole that kept him from shooting a 6-over 40 and pushing Gardiner’s team score sub-160 for the first time this season.

On the 138-yard par 3 15th Peacock caught his tee shot thin, clearing the green and landing in the woods just beyond the putting surface. The ball had carried past the red stake marking the zone a hazard, and unfortunately for Peacock he caught a low-lying branch five times with his follow through on his practice swings — resulting in what would later be determined a 5-stroke penalty for grounding his club in a hazard.

“If you’re in the hazard you can’t ground your club, and my player misunderstood and thought ground only meant hitting the ground but it’s really anything loose — grass, leaves, anything that’s in there,” Quinn said. “You learn the hard way and I’m sure it’s a mistake he won’t make again.”

Peacock was not the only standout golfer to experience how fickle a sport golf can be Tuesday, as Ireland was working on a 2-over-par round when he ran into trouble on the par-4, 294-yard 16th.

The tall lefty’s tee shot leaked to the left, just at the corner where the fairway hooks from right to left around the woods. Ireland attempted advance the ball, but after two shots found himself deeper in the woods. He would ultimately card a 10 on the hole.

“He got snake-bit on a couple holes,” Meserve said. “He had a good round going and you lose it on that. It’s hard to deal with but you come back and play another day.

“He’s had a bunch of good rounds out here and he’s been pretty successful, but just that one bad hole pretty much.”

While the Tigers will get ready for their match Thursday in Rockland, Maranacook will head back to practice to prepare for the individual qualifier Tuesday, Oct. 7 at Natanis Golf Course

• • •

In KVAC A playoff action Tuesday, Oceanside scored a 167-183 win over Messalonskee at Rockland.

Nick Mazurek took top honors with a 36 for the Mariners, while teammate Zeke Hamlin followed shortly after with a 39. Nate Hersom and Ryan Lawrence rounded out Oceanside’s top four by shooting 44 and 48, respectively.

Billy Rollins and Jason Smith tied for the low round for the Eagles after each carded a 43, followed by Dillon Burton (47) and Jared Cunningham (50).

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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