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Repeat! Panthers claim back-to-back titles

MA golf team runs away from pack to claim D-IV championship; Maroun wins individual title

The Moultonboro Academy golf team holds its state championship plaque after winning the Division IV title at Pheasant Ridge Golf Club in Gilford last week. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
October 10, 2011
GILFORD One was nice, two is better.

Behind the consistency of its top four, the Moultonboro Academy golf team earned its second straight state title on Oct. 6, capping off an undefeated regular season with a Division IV state championship at Pheasant Ridge Golf Club. The Panthers' total of 329 gave them a runaway victory over runner-up Hopkinton (357).

"We had a great season," said MA coach Ken Nilson. "The guys played well all season long and it's a great bunch of kids. Golf tends to attract the real nice kids and this team was no exception."

Junior Hayden Maroun led MA with a seven-over par 77 during Thursday's team round, and he bettered that mark with a solid 74 on Saturday to claim Division IV's state individual championship. Maroun's two-day total of 151 gave him a 10-shot win over runner-up and teammate Matt Werren (161), while fellow Panther Duncan Richards made it an all-MA podium as he was third at 168.

While Maroun was steady during Thursday's team round, it was still a tricky day for him and the rest of the Panthers, as cold temperatures in the 40s mixed with a stiff breeze made the 18-hole round even longer than expected.

"The wind picked up in the afternoon and I had my coat on and off in between shots," Maroun said after Thursday's 77. "It adds a few shots to the total I think, but I'm happy with the way I played. I had two triple (bogeys) which kind of did me in but I hit a lot of good wedge shots that made up for some of that."

Maroun, who sank two birdies on his opening round, was followed by Werren, who carded an 81 for the Panthers. Richards posted an opening 83 while Tim Casey rounded out the scorers with an 88. Jeff Litterest (100) and Matt Harfst (106) also competed for MA, but didn't figure into the scoring.

"I was happy with my round until the last hole where I tripled," said Richards. "But besides that, I didn't have anything higher than a bogey on my card. My goal was to play bogey golf and try and keep the mistakes to a minimum."

The formula for victory on Thursday was a familiar one for the Panthers, as team depth sent the championship plaque back north.

"If you notice who wins matches, it's not the number ones and twos," said Nilson. "You need four solid scores to be able to win. And that's what we had. The guys were a little frustrated with the conditions but they came through for us."

All four of the MA scorers finished in the Top 12 in Division IV to advance to the second round, meaning one-third of the individual championship round on Saturday was made up of Panthers.

"That's never happened before," said Nilson.

While the tournament was originally scheduled to be held at White Mountain Country Club in Ashland, wet conditions caused the course to be deemed unplayable. Pheasant Ridge stepped up and despite some wet spots, the greens were still quick and dried out as the day wore on.

"We played a practice round at White Mountain then we were told it wasn't going to be held there," said Maroun. "And I know Pheasant Ridge was closed the last two days before the tournament, but we got to play the front nine once so that was helpful. I like the course a lot, I think it's kind of like Ridgewood where we play our home matches."

Inter-Lakes High School also qualified for the seven-team field, thanks to a 15-8 regular season record. The Lakers' total of 374 put them sixth in the field, just behind fifth-place Profile (372).

I-L number one Jon Petitti led the Lakers with a 92 at Pheasant Ridge, as all six I-L golfers finished relatively close to each other. Drew Fay carded a 93, Sam Mailand shot a 94 and Carter Hale followed with a 95. Eamon Bean (98) and Drew Mailand (102) also played for the Lakers.

The Panthers' title was the second in a row, as MA was declared the champions last year after the tournament was canceled due to rain. This year's crown was a bit more satisfying for the veteran squad.

"It's awesome for our golf program," said Maroun. "Before the last few years, our program really wasn't much of anything. We definitely didn't have the success that we've had here so it's been great to see us put it together. We've got a solid top four and we've stayed consistent throughout the year."

MA did fall just two strokes of Division III champion Mascenic's 327, a total some of the Panthers were hoping to best.

"I think for Hayden and I, it was kind of a personal goal," said Richards. "I'm happy to win, that would've put the cherry on top I think."

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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