GARDINER — Each match this season there has been a sense of uncertainty for the Gardiner Area High School golf team and that has not necessarily been a bad thing.

The Tigers put together their second straight undefeated regular season this fall, going 10-0 behind an evenly talented group of golfers.

“We haven’t had anyone shoot really low but we have incredible depth. A lot of times our second best four players would beat the other school’s top four players,” Gardiner coach Patrick Quinn said. “The boys play a lot, they really like it and, in this sport, it’s all about how much time you put in. They played all summer so I give them a lot of credit.

“…On any day, any one of our top eight kids could be the low man. That’s really how much depth there is.”

Like one would expect, the Tigers have plenty of upperclassmen leading the way. Seniors Chad Prince and Logan Peacock have routinely been two of the team’s top players, while classmate Brady Smith has played well also. Juniors Sam Jermyn, Andrew Goulette and Tristan Hebert have had strong rounds as well.

Then there is Cody Rizzo.

Though just a freshman — and the varsity team’s only underclassman — Rizzo has more than held his own and is routinely amongst the team’s lowest scorers along with Prince and Peacock.

“He minimizes mistakes. Very rarely do I find him on a hole where he’s out of bounds,” Quinn said. “He keeps it in play. He hits the ball really clean. Mentally he stays focused and he doesn’t put himself in bad spots with silly mistakes.

“When you hit the ball straight it sets you up for a lot of good holes. That’s what Cody brings to the table.”

Rizzo may not get as far off the tee as some of his classmates and opponents, but he more than makes up for that with his play on and around the green.

“It’s been a good push,” Peacock said. “He’s going to be a great golfer. I’m just trying to keep up.”

Rizzo — who began playing when he was 6-years-old — said he has enjoyed playing with the upperclassmen as well.

“It’s fun, they’re great guys. It’s different playing with all older kids, especially waiting for my ride in the parking lot,” Rizzo said with a laugh.

The addition of Rizzo, as well as an increase in dedication during the summer has helped Gardiner maintain its spot atop the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B South this season.

“We practice a lot harder, practice a lot of different shots that we needed to improve on and it’s just all come together,” Peacock said. “The depth is really nice this year.”

The Tigers’ depth also helped to absorb the loss of their top returning golfer from a season ago, Brian Dunn, who was ruled ineligible during the season due to a violation of a school rule.

“I’d rather talk about the guys that are here playing with us but we were well equipped to deal with that just because the number of quality golfers that we have,” Quinn said. “Logan has come on really strong. Up at Spruce Mountain he shot even par, which was awesome to watch. Nine straight pars, that was his whole round. His focus has been incredible recently. He’s really thinking the game through.”

The Tigers could certainly use a similar performance Monday beginning at 2 p.m. at the KVAC Shootout at Rockland Golf Club. Gardiner (11-0) will take on fellow KVAC B South team Erskine (8-4), as well as KVAC B North champ Maine Central Institute (11-0) and Mount View (8-3).

Messalonskee (10-0), Lewiston (9-1) and Brewer (6-4) will vie for the KVAC Class A title.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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