Brunswick pair among leaders after first day of Maine Junior Championship

Aug. 1—Good things happen when Austin Stromick and Will Farschon team up.

Stromick and Farschon shot 3-under 69 Tuesday at Riverside Golf Course, putting them in a three-way tie for first in the boys’ 16-18-year-old flight with Lucas Flaherty after the first round of the Maine Junior Championship.

Stromick and Farschon were teammates for the Brunswick High team that won last year’s Class A title. Playing in the same group and on the same team Tuesday — for the first time this summer, the championship is a two-person best-ball team event as well as an individual competition — they were sharp yet again. Their team score of 8 under was also the best in the 16-18 flight, one shot ahead of Kellen Adickes and Johnny Hwang.

“We play basically every day, me and Will,” Stromick said. “We just play well together. We feed off of each other, and we know how to get ourselves going in the right direction.”

A fourth 69, shot by Ryan Woodward, gave him the lead in the boys’ 14-15 flight, and he and Joe Hansen had the best overall team score at 9 under. Ruth Weeks shot a 2-over 74 to take a two-stroke lead in the girls’ 16-18 flight over Jade Haylock.

“I was just trying to keep a level head. Forget the last hole and keep moving on,” said Weeks, who was 1 under on the front, then steadied herself after a double bogey on the 11th and bogey on the 12th to maintain her lead. “I tried to forget that I played a front nine, and tried to pretend that 10 was hole 1.”

Weeks, a recent Greely High grad, had to fend off her playing partners, Haylock and Carley Iannetta (6 over), for the girls’ lead. She and Haylock were tied going into the 17th hole, but Weeks birdied and Haylock bogeyed to provide the separation.

“They keep you on your toes. The minute you say ‘Oh nice, I’m one stroke up, (it’s) nope, I’m two strokes back,'” said Weeks, who with Haylock leads the girls’ team competition at 2 under. “Playing with people who are better than you or at your same level always has a way of making you play better.”

Farschon started his day with four birdies on the front nine, and didn’t make a bogey until his par putt on the 18th lipped out.

“I think just trying to stay in the moment, and not get ahead of myself,” Farschon answered when asked for the key to his play. “I thought I handled myself well. … I was striking the ball really well today.”

One of Farschon’s highlights was a par on the 16th. His drive sailed right and a row of trees stood between him and the green, but his shot from a bad lie went through the trees and through the green, and he made a tricky 8-foot putt to complete a nervy up-and-down.

“I knew if I posted a good score, I would be up there,” said Farschon, who played in the National High School Invitational two weeks earlier with his Brunswick team. “Playing well in this tournament would be a bonus. I’ve had a really good year so far.”

Stromick was 2 under on the front, and then birdied the 10th and 11th to swing the momentum onto the back. He made a 15-foot putt on the 10th, then stuck a 125-yard shot within tap-in range on the 11th.

“The goal was actually 3 under, break 70,” Stromick said. “I was thinking if I could do that both days, I could probably win this thing.”

Moments later, Flaherty, the 2021 Class A champion from South Portland High, came in with the third 69 of the day. He started strong, with birdies on the fourth and fifth holes, and finished with birdies on 16 and 18 to put himself in a three-way tie. Keenan Buteau, Johnny Hwang and Wyatt Folsom are tied for fourth at 1 under.

“I’m excited for (Wednesday),” Flaherty said. “I was definitely confident. I know this course, I’ve played it a bunch in high school matches and it fits my game. It’s a short course, a lot of wedges in.”

Woodward raced out to the boys’ 14-15 lead by making six birdies en route to his 69. He leads Jack Quinn, Mick Madden and Joe Hansen by four shots.

“This is my best score in a tournament. I kept every ball in play and my wedges were on point today. I was putting it in pretty close,” Woodward said. “And putts were rolling in today.”

Not bad for a player who first picked up a golf club two years ago. Playing with brother Connor, a former player for Wells, helped speed up his development.

“I had a lot of fun today,” Woodward said. “I didn’t know I was going to shoot this well, so I just came here to have fun. … And I ended up having a really good round.”

Woodward and Hansen also fared best in the team competition, birdying 10 holes altogether.

“We just linked really well,” Hansen said. “We were always helping each other with the reads. Every single hole, it felt like, we were just locked in.”

Sam Sirois (even par) leads the boys’ 12-13 flight, and Niamh O’Brien (15 over) leads the girls’ 14-15 flight. Jordan Hanson (9 over for nine holes) leads the boys’ 11-and-under flight.

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