MADISON — The bulk of high school fall sports teams in Maine continued their preseason work Wednesday as they prep for season-opening competition next week. 

Golf is the exception. 

The official start of the high school fall sports seasons came Wednesday afternoon, when golf teams from around the state squared off in regular season matches.

“It’s really cool (to start the season), because the courses are in the best shape this time of the year,” said Skowhegan sophomore Eddie Goff, whose team competed against Messalonskee at Lakewood Golf Course. “You get to start early, you get to play the courses in the best shape they are all year, and it’s great to get started earlier because we get to end earlier.”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” Messalonskee head coach Gene Dumont added. “We’re starting before football, soccer. It’s a compressed season.”

Indeed, the high school golf season is pressed into a tight window, with state championship matches scheduled on Oct. 6-7. By contrast, some football state championship games are played on Nov. 18.


The early finish to the season also means an early start, and golfers said Wednesday they enjoy having the spotlight all to themselves on Day 1.

“We’re very excited,” Messalonskee senior Jacob Moody said. “I think we’ve got a ton of potential. We’ve got young players playing in high spots. Throughout the season, it’s only going to get better.”

Messalonskee and Skowhegan enter the fall with plenty of potential — and deep rosters. The River Hawks have 16 golfers out, No. 1 golfer Goff and No. 2 Silas Tibbetts.

“I’m excited,” Skowhegan head coach Dave Martin said. “On paper, we’re better than we were last year. That can only be good, plus we’ve got more kids this year. Sixteen is the most we’ve had for a while.”

Messalonskee also returns a large roster for Dumont, led by Moody, who had success on the amateur circuit during the summer.

Skowhegan’s Eddie Goff chips onto a green during Wednesday’s golf match at Lakewood Golf Course in Madison. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I had four players in the Maine junior tour,” Dumont said. “That makes a difference. The players who play tournament golf, they’re not in odd (territory) when they get to the state and regional (tournaments). They’ve played against players they’ve met at other courses and they’re more comfortable. The comfort is the big thing.


“They’re showing a lot of promise,” Dumont added. “But promise is promise. We’ll see how they do in competition. We’ve got a good match coming up (Thursday) with Brunswick, that will be a good benchmark. That’s always been the benchmark the last few years, Brunswick.”

Lakewood, Skowhegan’s home course, provided a tough opening challenge for both teams. The lead group especially had trouble on the eighth hole, a 405-yard par-4 with a water hazard in front of the green. If that wasn’t enough, the green itself had a downward slope, making putting difficult from any angle.

“The greens are just tough,” Goff said. “They’re so firm, they’re quick and they’re so small. So, it’s tough to stick a ball to the green. It’s hard to hit a shot close and get it to stay there. … That green (on No. 8), I’d like to say it’s the hardest in the state. There’s no way you can stop a ball if you miss low to the cup. It’s just going to keep running. And the putt up the hill is just as hard as the put down the hill. It’s crazy to putt on and frustrating for sure.”

“It’s really tricky, not playing here a lot,” Moody added. “Playing with (Goff) helps a lot, he’s great, helps me around (the course) and tells me what to do. It made it a lot easier.”

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