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Retooled Bombers rise to repeat

May 25, 2018
By LOU REUTER - Senior Sports Writer ( , Lake Placid News

ROUSES POINT - The season didn't start off very well for the Lake Placid golf team. But once the Blue Bombers started to actually get some playing time outdoors after the long winter melted away, they really got on a roll.

On Thursday, with senior captain Drew Maiorca leading the way, Lake Placid successfully defended its team title, winning on the first day of the Section VII Championships at the North Country Golf Club in Rouses point.

This spring, the retooled Blue Bombers started off their Champlain Valley Athletic Conference schedule by watching a 40-match winning streak come to an end, and five matches into the season, they owned a 3-2 record. But since that time, Lake Placid put five straight wins together to finish in a three-way tie for the CVAC title, and then claimed their third sectional crown in the past four years.

Article Photos

Lake Placid’s golfers celebrate their 2018 Section VII team championship on Thursday at the North Country Golf Club. Team members from the left: Cole Jacques, Noah Tavares, Drew Maiorca, Lars Kroes, Hunter Wilmot, Brendan Bullock and coach John Glinski.
(News photo — Lou Reuter)

Three Blue Bombers, Maiorca, Hunter Wilmot and Lars Kroes, all survived the cut of 94 to advance into today's final round on the same course, where the Section VII individual champion and the nine players who will represent the section in the state tournament at Cornell will be determined today.

In Thursday's competition, the lowest four scores from each team were combined to determine the winning squad, and the Blue Bombers finished with a 341 total, which was 12 strokes better than runner-up and sectional host Northeastern Clinton.

Maiorca paced Lake Placid with a four-over par 76 and will enter today's round in second place, six shots behind leader Joey Stahl of Moriah, who fired a two-under par 70. Wilmot finished with an 83 and stands in a tie for fifth, and Kroes is one position back in seventh place with an 85.

Over the past several years, a stacked Lake Placid team made winning look easy, but this time around, it took the effort of some newcomers to land on top. As it turned out, eighth-grader Brendan Bullock was a deciding factor on Thursday. He finished with a 97, which was a low enough score to lift Lake Placid to the title.

"It feels awesome," Maiorca said. "The start of the season I was a little iffy going in since we were the reigning sectional champions. After we had all those guys graduate last year, to pull it off and the way we did - I know we didn't play our best but we still got the job done. We stayed mentally strong, physically strong, and it feels great to get it done."

Maiorca, who is bidding for his third straight trip to Cornell, as well as an individual crown, struggled early and finished the front nine with a 40, but then heated up. He posted back-to-back-birdies on the final two holes to complete the back nine with an even-par 36.

"It wasn't my best round by any stretch. I left some shots out there," Maiorca said. "I had about 120 yards in on a lot of shots today, and that's wedges, pitching wedge, and those are your scoring clubs, and I didn't have my best stuff with those at all. They weren't on target, I wasn't hitting greens in regulation, and it's very tough to shoot low when you're not doing that.

"Toward the end, I started hitting a lot of good shots," continued Maiorca, who added that he was driving well all day. "I set a goal on the 16th hole. I was six over at that point, and I said just try to finish out with birdies. I put a little pressure on myself but I knew I could do it. I hit the shots I needed to - birdie-birdie. I'm pretty happy with that."

"Amazing. It really is. I'm just happy for the guys," Lake Placid coach John Glinski said. "We kept the trophy. I talked to them today on the bus and said 'You know. I want this trophy to come back with us.' It got them motivated, it got them excited, and we played well. There's no doubt about it. We've improved so much once we were able to get out on the course and play. That made a huge difference."

Glinski said he was happy to see his top top trio come through and noted that all three have a shot at qualifying for the state championships. The top third of the field who survived the cut of 94 will by vying for that coveted trip today. Glinski's younger, less experienced players who competed Thursday should hopefully be in contention for that experience in the future.

"The whole season was kind of up in the air," Glinski said. "It was such a crazy season with weather, scores and everything and it's hard to get consistent. To see our first three guys come through and play well is awesome. You hope as a coach that they'll do that, but when they go out and do it, you feel good.

"My last three guys, I told them on the bus try to break 100," Glinski continued. I told them that's your goal. If you can do that, I think we'll be fine. Brendan Bullock did it, and good for him. He's an eighth-grader, never doing this before, so I'm happy for him."

The two teams that finished at the top the CVAC along with Lake Placid grabbed second and third. The host Cougars, paced by Anthony Barcomb's round of 80, were runner-up with a 353 total, and Moriah, with Stahl leading the way, took third with a 364 total. Barcomb and Stahl, the 2016 Section VII champ, both had shots to remember. Barcomb drained an ace on the par-3, 14th hole, while Stahl sank a 110-yard approach shot to eagle the par-4, ninth hole.

Kroes started out on fire. He was just one-shot off the lead following a one-over par 37 on the front, but then struggled on the back starting with a triple bogey on the 10th and a bogey on the 11th. He finished with a back-nine 48, but winning another team title may have taken some of that frustration away from the freshman, who is looking for his first appearance in the state championships.

"I started off well, I think I just got tired near the end," Kroes said. "I'll feel better, but it still doesn't feel that great to go from a 37 to a 48 but you know. That was the lowest I shot all year, so I'm psyched and I can't complain about having an 85 with a 48. If I had shot even lower than that, I would have been ecstatic."

Sophomore Zach Churco was the only golfer from Saranac Lake to advance to the second round after carding a 92. Team captain, Ray Amell, just missed the cut with a round of 95.



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