ROCKLAND — Depth is about timing as much as talent.

Gardiner golf’s timing couldn’t have been better for the 2014 season. A perfect storm resulted in a perfect regular season for the Tigers.

Thanks to the foundation laid by previous head coach Karl Swenson’s feeder system, Gardiner had the numbers coming into the season. It had the team chemistry developed through several years spent coming up through the system together. It had the motivation, too, after barely missing a spot in the 2013 state team tournament. The junior class matured together and the team’s lone senior became a reliable contributor in just his second year playing the sport.

All of it came together for an 11-0 regular season, a solid third-place finish in last week’s KVAC championships and a confident team expecting to clinch Gardiner’s first berth in the state team championships since the Ryan Gay era ended in 2009.

Gardiner coach Patrick Quinn had as many as a half-dozen players drop two strokes over the summer, so he could see the team raising its game in 2014, just not to this extent.

“This year’s junior class have been pretty committed,” Quinn said. “A core of them have all improved their game pretty dramatically at the same time, so I knew we’d be better. I didn’t know we’d be that much better.”


The team started to get a sense just how much better early on, according to junior Brian Dunn.

“We’ve been playing with each other for a while and it’s just clicking this year,” Dunn said. “Before the season even started, it was clicking very well. People came in (shooting) low 40s, high 30s. We knew from the start it was going to be a good season.”

From day one, the Tigers have consistently been able to rely on a half-dozen golfers shooting a competitive round from match to match, which takes the pressure off everyone.

“If one kid is having a bad day, it’s next man up,” Quinn said.

“That’s the key, because if somebody comes in from our top four and doesn’t shoot well, we always have the five and six that are probably going to add to that, which is really good to know,” senior Seth McFarland said.

It also makes for a competitive environment in practice, Quinn said.


“Not one of them is so firmly established over any other one, so every day in practice is a chance to sort of test themselves,” he said.

The Tigers take their cue from Dunn, their No. 1, who sets an aggressive, confident tone.

“Brian can hit all kinds of shots. What I really love about the way he plays, though, is he doesn’t back down from anyone,” Quinn said. “Even if he knows the other guy has a lower scoring average, he never thinks of himself as second-best. He’ll go toe-to-toe with anyone.”

No. 2 Logan Peacock and No. 3 Chad Prince, both juniors, have regularly shot in the low-to-mid-40s all season.

“Logan is really crafty around the greens, and Chad hits the ball real straight and keeps the ball in play more often that not,” Quinn said.

Michael Glazier and Brady Smith round out the talented junior class. McFarland, the lone senior on the team, has vaulted into a solid No. 4, even though he is a relative newcomer to the sport. He played his first full round of golf last year after joining the team upon the invitation of a friend.


“Last year, he was really new; very, very green,” Quinn said. “This year, he has a lot more confidence in his game and he’s just been steady.”

“I thought I got quite a bit better since last year,” McFarland said. “Last year, I had a couple of scores in the 50s. This year, I’ve kept just about every single one under 50. I’ve been trying to shoot bogey golf. That was my my goal this year, and I’ve been doing pretty good.”

The team’s goal this year was to reach the Class B state championships, which they likely will achieve at Tuesday’s KVAC qualifier at Natanis.

If they make it to Saturday’s championship (also at Natanis), they will be underdogs going against the likes of conference rivals Camden Hills and Maine Central Institute. A strong showing could serve as a stepping stone for higher aspirations next year,

Or the Tigers could just decide there is no time like the present.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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