By CRAIG HARVEY
OBSERVER Sports Editor
FORESTVILLE - Division 2 high school golfers took to the links Thursday for the annual 3-man tournament at Tri-County Country Club.
And with weather putting a damper on the activities the past three years, Mother Nature cooperated quite nicely Thursday.
"This is the nicest day we have had in the last four or five years," Mel Swanson, Division 2 golf chairman, said. "It was perfect conditions. The course is in immaculate shape between the fairways and the greens rolling. This is a nice course for the kids to play."
The talk of the day was Maple Grove's Will Lockwood who finished with a 4-over-par 76. Lockwood just failed to qualify for states by a few strokes this year, but is only a junior and has a strong chance to qualify next year.
"For him to shoot a 76 is outstanding," Tri-County golf pro Dirk Hartman said. "He must have been draining a lot of putts. I have seen Will play and you can tell he is an accomplished player."
The 3-man tournament is an end-of-the year tournament in which every team in the division sends its three best players. Swanson called it a "reward-type tournament" as the outcome has no indication on league standings. The schools competing in the event were Maple Grove, Silver Creek, Frewsburg, Panama, Sherman, Cassadaga Valley, Chautauqua Lake, Westfield, Ripley and Forestville.
Despite the dry weather which has made the course difficult this spring, many of the participants shot their best round of the season.
"Our course is in great condition," Hartman said. "This May has been record breaking as far as weather wise. The greens are firming up more than normal. The course is playing the most difficult it has in years. Scoring has been a little high for some members."
Tri-County recently hosted a PGA ability playing test and not one participant passed the test. Golfers must shoot a 159 over 36 holes. The lowest score was a 165.
"Anytime you can play a golf course like this all the time, you're going to go eat other courses for dinner. You're going to feast on those courses because this is a such a hard test of golf."
See GOLF, Page B2
Maple Grove and Chautauqua Lake tied for the league title this season with identical 8-1 records while Frewsburg finished 7-2. Westfield and Cassadaga Valley were each 6-3. This season was also bitter-sweet as some schools may not field a team in 2013.
"The state of division is we are going to lose a few teams next year," Swanson said. "There are a couple schools who announced they might not have golf. Our division is going to be short a few teams."
Despite the possibility of losing a few teams, Hartman said Tri-County is committed to giving youth golfers a place to learn the sport.
"I'm a big proponent of junior golf," he said. "Any time we can host something with junior golf or high school golf, I'm all for it. The kids are spectacular. I coached in Pittsburgh and I wish I had these kids on my team. The ability might not be great, but the kids love the game. For us to host something like this gives us a chance to give back to them. It's a win-win for everyone."
Following are the scores for each school:
Maple Grove Will Lockwood 76, Andy Farnham 86, Dilan LaBarbera 90.
Silver Creek:?Dan?Weimer 81, Dan Sweetman 110, Andrew Sweetman 116.
Frewsburg:?Zach Stahlsmith 87, Dan?Farrell 90, Nick Munella 91.
Sherman:?Albert Bensink 92, Nathan Ottaway 103, Steve Walczak 114.
Cassadaga Valley:?Jarrett Blizzard 93, Anthony Miller 94, David Meadows 99.
Chautauqua Lake:?Justin?Andriaccio 94, Cody Latimer 96, Jake Andriaccio 101.
Westfield:?Ethan Nelson 94, Andrew Robbins 94, Greg Momberger 99.
Panama:?Tyler Marsh 88, Cole Munson 102, Nick Kirby 117.
Ripley:?David Blackman 95, Ian Petroff 105, Nicole Gren 127.
Forestville:?Jackson Egan 103, Jackson?Campbell 104, Logan?Youngberg 110.