MA senior Hayden Maroun follows his putt on number six during action at Newport Golf Club on Oct. 4. Maroun carded a 72 during the team tournament to lead the Panthers to a fourth-place showing in Division IV. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
October 08, 2012NEWPORT – Standing 220 yards from the pin on the 18th hole at Newport Golf Club, Hayden Maroun waited. After a perfect tee shot put the Moultonborough Academy senior within striking distance of the green on a difficult par five, Maroun made the decision to be aggressive. His efforts paid off, as he knocked the approach about 15 feet from the pin and two-putted for a birdie to cap off a one-over round of 72. Maroun's strong score led the MA golf team to a fourth-place finish on Oct. 4, as the Panthers competed in the NHIAA Division IV Championship.
"I was nervous," admitted Maroun of his three-iron that navigated through some hazards on the 18th hole. "But I knew if I wanted to make birdie, I had to hit that club."
Maroun's 72 on the opening day easily allowed him to qualify for the individual championship (top 12 golfers after day one) held on Oct. 6. He followed that up with a 78 for a combined two-day total of 150, three shots clear of runner-up Patrick McGinley of Derryfield School for his second consecutive state individual title. Maroun was the top scorer on the MA roster, as the two-time defending team champions finished with a total of 380 on the day. Derryfield was a clear winner with a 329 while Newport (343) and Hopkinton (360) rounded out the top three.
"It's a little disappointing. But fourth (place) isn't that bad, we'll take it," said MA coach Ken Nilson. "The guys tried hard. It was a tough day out there. Tough conditions but it just wasn't meant to be this year."
Tim Casey, who carded a 96, was the only other MA golfer to break 100 on the difficult course, as rain plagued a round that took most golfers well over six hours to complete. Nicholas Law (106) and Jeff Litterest (106) also contributed to the team total, while Matt Harfst (108) and Kevin Ireland (115) also competed.
Maroun got off to a strong start for the Panthers, playing his first eight holes at two-under. But a double-bogey on the ninth hole put him at even-par making the turn. His round took a downswing with bogeys on 14, 15 and 16, but the senior saved things with back to back birdies on 17 and 18 to post the first round 72.
"He had a couple of double bogeys and came back to shoot one-over. That's grinding it out," lauded Nilson of Maroun. "He did really well."
Maroun tried to shake off the few mistakes he made, and the strong finish put him right in contention entering the individual tourney. He trailed McGinley by one shot entering the weekend, but the Derryfield golfer shot an 82 after an opening 71 and couldn't hang with Maroun.
"The biggest thing is you just have to put (mistakes) behind you because there's nothing you can do about it," he said. "I just tried to forget about it. I made a 15-footer on 13 for birdie and then made those three bogeys. So I just tried to come back and finish strong."
Drew Fay led Inter-Lakes High School with a 91 on the day, as the Lakers posted a score of 406, good enough for sixth place in D-IV. Senior Carter Hale shot a 95 for I-L, while Dillon Mailand (109) and Logan Goewey (111) also aided the team score. Cody Burns (114) and Griffin Torrey (122) rounded out the six-person team that competed.
"We're pretty young, with the exception of Carter Hale who is my only senior," said I-L coach Chuck Yaeger. "He played pretty well out there today, he shot below his average so that was a good day for him. Drew just missed the (individual) cut by a couple shots out there. Those are probably two of my more experienced players so it's just a matter of the rest of the guys getting the experience and being ready to compete a little bit more next year."
The Lakers had a very strong regular season, finishing 13-7 overall thanks to a balanced lineup that allowed them to qualify for the state tourney.
"Not being as veteran of a team as in the past, it was a good experience," said Yaeger of playing in the state tournament. "They had a lot of fun too, and that's what we're trying to do here. We're trying to give them a game for a lifetime. We'll come back and hopefully some of those younger guys will just continue the journey and the process."
While the regular season features matches of nine holes, the jump up to 18 holes for the state tournament can be a big adjustment for players. Add in the rain, and it was truly a long afternoon of golf in Newport.
"It's a whole other animal playing 18 versus nine holes," Yaeger explained. "Mentally you have to be able to hold it together as well as physically. Over the course of 18 holes you're going to have some bad holes but mentally, you've got to try and keep it together. I think my guys did a pretty good job of that."
While the forecast called for rain to increase as the day went along, it appeared as though the golfers were spared the worst, as things tapered off during their final few holes.
"When we first teed off it wasn't too bad but when we got to the third or fourth hole it really started to rain for awhile there until about the ninth or 10th," Maroun explained. "So that part was kind of annoying when it's on and off. You have to constantly take the umbrella out, put the jacket on and off."
Newport GC presented some challenging holes for the golfers, with several hazards and doglegs making for some tricky shot making.
"It's a tough course," Maroun said. "It's not too long but it's position golf. You don't have to be the guy that hits it 300 yards but if you're not in the fairway, you're going to shoot a high number."