Greely’s Andrew Klein chips out of the sand trap on the fourth hole in the Class A golf tournament Friday at Natanis Golf Club in Vassalboro. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

VASSALBORO — If the Arizona Beverage Company needs a pitchman for its Arnold Palmer, the soft drink named in honor of the golf great, Greely High School senior Andrew Klein is a candidate.

“Best drink of all time. I call it birdie juice. I cracked it open, and made a birdie on the next shot,” Klein said of that important sip of the half iced tea-half lemonade on the 10th hole Friday at Natanis Golf Course’s Tomahawk course. “I only drank one today (during the round), but I had one on the bus up here. They’re pretty sugary.”

On a day the wind played havoc with shots throughout the round, Klein was consistent. Klein shot 5-over-par 77, giving him a two-stroke win for the Class A individual title. He paced an overall strong effort from Greely, which shot a team score of 322, beating second-place Scarborough by 14 shots to claim the Class A golf championship. It is the first title in Class A since 1990 for the Rangers, and first since winning the Class B championship in 1995.

“I’ve been waiting for years for this moment. I texted my friend who’s currently in college who we played with last year, who really wanted to win. I told him today was for him. Ben Rosenthal, it’s for him today,” Klein said. “It’s my senior year, I came out here knowing this was my last round in these four years, and I wanted it to count.”

Peter Malia of Scarborough and Bennett Berg of Portland tied for second place, two shots behind Klein.

Edward Little placed sixth, led by senior Colin Merritt, who led early in the match and shot an 81 (9-over) to tie for sixth in the individual competition with Mt. Ararat’s Parker Bate and Deering’s Nick McGonagle.

Merritt didn’t think the wind was a big factor in his round.

“It was definitely tough, but the past couple of days when we’ve been practicing, it’s been like this,” Merritt said. “The weather’s been pretty similar. I think that helped a little bit,” Merritt said.

Lewiston’s Parker Thibault tied for 26th (15-over), and teammate Bryce Dufour tied for 34th (17-over) with Edward Little’s Connor Turcotte and two other golfers.

Remy Levin, a Bonny Eagle junior, shot 88 to take the girls title.

“The wind really made it the worst. It wasn’t too bad, but I didn’t play my best,” Levin said.

Ruth Weeks of Greely took second place in the girls competition, one shot behind Levin.

Greely’s depth propelled the Rangers to the title. With Klein leading the way, Greely placed four boys in the top 10 individual standings. DJ Kenney tied for fourth place, Connor Albert placed ninth, and Nick Montnimy tied for 10th with Cony’s Kyle Douin.

Levin pointed to the 6-foot putt she made for birdie on the ninth hole as one of her key shots of the round. Like Levin, Klein said the wind made the course challenging.

“The wind was howling everywhere. A couple holes it was playing 20, 30 yards long or short. It all depended on where you were. It really had an impact on the game. A lot of scores were high today,” Klein said. “I played really well, for how the wind was. I just had a couple shots I hit super awful. If I hadn’t hit those shots so poorly, I feel like I would’ve been even lower today. But the score I had, I can’t be mad about anything.”

Along with his birdie on the par-3, 125-yard 10th hole, Klein also had a birdie on the similar par-3, 126-yard fourth. Klein had three bogeys over his final six holes, but finished with a par on 18 to clinch the win.

In this season shortened to a two-and-a-half-week fall by the COVID-19 pandemic, the golfers were glad to get in a season at all. And having a state championship match when sports like field hockey and soccer are unable to play postseason tournaments was a bonus.

“I think it was organized pretty well, for the amount of matches we had, and how they organized states to keep the numbers down. I think everything was planned out pretty well,” Merritt said.

Classes A and B will hold their championship tournaments Saturday, also at Natanis.

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