VASSALBORO — Winthrop golf coach Lonney Steeves has made it a point throughout the season: One stroke can make a big difference.

It certainly did Monday afternoon at the Mountain Valley Conference championships at Natanis Golf Course.

Winthrop avenged two regular season defeats to Dirigo by claiming the conference crown by the slimmest of margins — one stroke.

The Ramblers won the match 4-3 and edged the Cougars in team scores, 184-185.

“Pretty cool,” Steeves said. “It was a heck of a day. We shot some big numbers. Some kids winder how important one stroke can be. Well, it won us a championship (Monday).”

The victory assured the Ramblers a berth in the state championships Saturday at Natanis.

The MVC qualifier is set for Wednesday, also at Natanis.

“It takes some of the pressure off us,” Steeves said. “This will let us relax a little bit.”

The MVC title is third in four year for the Ramblers, who also won it in 2013 and 2014. St. Dominic won the crown last season.

“It’s nice to have it back,” Steeves said.

Winthrop sank Madison 5.5-1.5 in the semifinals to reach the title match.

The Cougars appeared poised to take the crown after No. 1 and No. 2 golfers Jacob Gaudin and Mike Kersey won their matches over Charlie de Hass and Brogan Plossay, respectively. However, Zac Robertson and Ben Thomas gave the Ramblers a lift by winning their matches to help secure the crown.

“When one and two came back in, I thought, ‘well we might just end up runnerup,'” Steeves said. “But we did a fabulous job. A one-stroke win, that’s pretty tight. We went back and double-checked all the scorecards just to make sure. This is a nice win.”


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