BRUNSWICK — This isn’t Ty Henke’s first season on the golf course, but it’s the beginning of his last as a high school athlete.

The Mt. Ararat senior, who has been a part of two Class A state championships in 2018 and 2019, is now hoping to be a leader and leave behind a path to success for his underclassmen teammates.

“I’ve had the same mindset since I was a freshman, to be a leader,” said Henke, the lone senior on the team this season. “I just want to do my part to help our guys have success down the line, that’s what it’s about this season.”

Thursday marked the start of the golf season for Mt. Ararat, Edward Little and Mt. Blue. Players and coaches felt fortunate to have the opportunity to have a full season after last year’s abbreviated season.

“We just feel so lucky to have the opportunity and want to make the most of it,” Henke said. “Last year was such an unknown and now we can just go out and play some golf; it’s really a great feeling.”

Things look a bit different this year compared to years past. Like last season, matches in Class A will be played with three teams instead of two. Players will go out in threesomes, as opposed to the normal foursomes in the past.

It was a change that Mt. Ararat’s Parker Bate  isn’t accustomed to just yet.

“It’s strange,” said Bate, Mt. Ararat’s No. 1 golfer who finished his round with a score of 42. “Not having a partner is different; I would like to have a teammate out there to help me out but it is what it is.”

Henke had similar feelings.

“My first two years it was nice to be with a teammate, it really helped my game,” he said.

Mt. Blue High School’s Ryker Samson, left, and Mt. Ararat’s Parker Bate compete during a match Thursday in Brunswick. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

For the Cougars, it was their first varsity golf match since 2019 after the school district opted not to have fall sports last season. For senior Ryker Samson, it was an exciting moment to get back on the course.

“It’s really exciting, you want to get out and compete and show people that Mt. Blue is good at golf,” Samson said. “I think I did fairly well for my first-ever varsity match.”

Mt. Blue head coach Mark Cyr described his team as “a lot of newcomers who are eager to get better.”.

Samson agrees.

“We have a lot of golfers who have a lot of talent, it’s just about beating the mental aspect of the game,” he said. “We have a lot of promise here, especially considering it’s been almost two years since we last played.”

Edward Little’s Connor Turcotte said he wasn’t expecting the course to play like it did on Thursday.

Edward Little’s Connor Turcotte hits a shot during a match Thursday in Brunswick. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“I’ve never played here before so I wasn’t sure what to expect,” the sophomore said. “I think I made some mistakes that I probably wouldn’t make playing here a second time.”

The Eagles were dominant on Thursday, downing Edward Little 7-2 and Mt. Blue 7 1/2 – 1 ½.

Bate’s 42 was good enough to tie with Henke’s 42 for the low medalist. Turcotte led the Red Eddies with a low-round of 43, while John Knapp of Mt. Blue shot a 48 to lead the Cougars. Samson shot a 53.

“I made a lot of mental mistakes that I can learn from,” Samson said. “It wasn’t my best day.”

Eagles coach Gerry Caron thinks his team is just scratching the surface of what it can achieve.

“We still have a long way to go in the season and with our golf game,”  Caron said. “This was a great way to start the season.”

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