ANDOVER—With the boys golf season being only three weeks old, the Andover Central Invitational was a good gauge for teams dreaming of being state contenders.
In the field was the defending 5A champion (Andover Central), 4A champion (Andover) and 3A champion (Collegiate). Collegiate and Maize, however, return almost all of their teams from last season, which created quite the shootout at Terradyne Country Club Monday afternoon.
Behind five scores in the 70s, Collegiate won the team title with a 298, just a stroke better than Maize.
Trey Hayden from Augusta and Kramer Howell from Maize shot 70, but Hayden won medalist honors in a playoff.
"We played lights out today," Collegiate coach Kevin Reed said. "It's so early in the season and some of our guys were out of town last weekend, so I didn't know what to expect, but we played well."
Before ever getting to the course, Reed was just hoping his team would break 320, but once he got to the clubhouse and saw the perfect scoring conditions, a score below 300 seemed more likely.
"I didn't see 298 coming," Reed said. "It's impressive and it was a super tournament for us."
Pacing the Spartans was Ben Hatfield's 72 and Bret LeMaster's 73.
Hatfield rode a hot putter throughout the round for three birdies, including a 60-foot bomb on the par-3 17th.
"I drove the ball well and gave myself a chance for birdie," Hatfield said. "I putted well when I need to and made good birdies."
LeMaster wasn't as steady, but he was more explosive. He made six birdies on his round and if it weren't a triple bogey on 13, where he tried to drive the green on a par 4, he would have been in the hunt for medalist honors.
"I usually gave myself 10-12 foot putts," LeMaster said. "I hit 12 fairways and 14 greens, so I hit the ball really well."
Maize has done essentially everything it can do to be considered one of 6A's elite. The Eagles have finished second four times so far this season.
"We continue to be the bridesmaid," Maize coach Mike Darrah said. "One of these times we'll break through."
1. Collegiate 298 (Hatfield 72, LeMaster 73, Morris 75, Vincent 78, Sullivan 79, Munds 83); 2. Maize 299 (Howell 70, Bette 73, Nordeborg 77, Marsh 79, Latimer 80, Creitz 88); 3. Andover Central 311 (Vautravers 75, Anderson 76, Blickenstaff 79, Holt 81, Sherman 81, Banning 84); 4. Valley Center 322; 5. Wellington 323; 6. Goddard 329; 7. Andover 332; 8. Augusta 338; 9. Buhler 342; 10. Hesston 343; 11. Andale 345.
1. Hayden, Augusta, 70 (won playoff); 2. Howell, Maize, 70; 3. Hatfield, Collegiate, 72; 4. Bette, Maize, 73; 5. Miller, Wellington, 73; 6. LeMaster, Collegiate, 73; 7. Michlic, Andover, 74; 8. Vautravers, Andover Central, 75