The Erskine golf team won a tight Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B Shootout at Rockland Golf Course on Friday, finishing one stroke ahead of Maine Central Institute, which finished just one stroke ahead of Gardiner.

Erskine got rounds of 39 from No. 1 Connor Paine and No. 3 Robert Harmon to finish with a team total of 168, one stroke better than MCI’s 169.

“We were a little fortunate today,” Erskine coach Mark Bailey said. “MCI has quite a one-two punch at the top and we were just able to cover the scores.”

MCI’s top two turned in strong rounds — No. 1 Eric Dugas carded a 37 and No. 2 Carter Pearl finished at 39.

With the Shootout victory, Erskine automatically qualifies for the state tournament team competition on Oct. 8 at Natanis Golf Course.

Bailey said the key to victory for Erskine was No. 2 Aaron Pion, who didn’t have his best day but made par on the eighth and ninth holes to provide the margin.

“Aaron wasn’t playing his best golf but I pulled him aside with two holes to go and told him that it was as close as it could be and that we really needed him there,” Bailey said. “For him to par those two holes out, that’s huge.”

Erskine will still play in the KVAC qualifier on the Tomahawk course at Natanis on Tuesday, knowing its spot at states is already secured. The top three teams plus Erskine — as well as the top 12 individuals from that tournament — advance to states.

“It’s nice because at this point we can play relaxed,” Bailey said. “We feel like if we play well, we can get four guys through to state.”

Gardiner will try to qualify a team as well as individual golfers. The Tigers were just two strokes off Friday.

“The teams were very evenly matched,” Gardiner coach Patrick Quinn said. “Until everyone came in, I really had no idea who was going to win.”

No. 2 golfer Cam Bourassa had a strong outing for the Tigers, carding a 39 to lead his team.

“On the bus on the way over he was saying if things went right for him, he could shoot a 39, and he hit that right on the button,” Quinn said.

Devon Maschino at No. 4 also played well for Gardiner, shooting a 44.

Quinn said he hopes to get at least three players through to individual competition while also qualifying his team.

“We have been chasing Erskine all year and just haven’t quite gotten there,” he said. “It will be tough on their home course but we’re certainly looking forward to giving it another shot.”

Dugas and Waterville’s Cody Pellerin shared Class B medalist honors at 37. The Panthers shot a team total of 176.

In the Class A Shootout, Mt. Ararat shot its way to states with a 165. Camden Hills was second at 170 and Brewer third at 186.

KVAC qualifying play begins at 10 a.m. at Natanis on Tuesday. The state meet will be played Oct. 8 on the same course.


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