Junior golfers set sights on national event

Posted May 12, 2010, at 10:24 p.m.
Last modified Oct. 24, 2010, at 4:02 p.m.

ENFIELD, Maine — Lance Bernier, Marshall Foster and Brody Libby are such good golfers, they’re positively nasty to play against.

The lefthanded Bernier, 17, of Lincoln can shoot a 72 over 18 holes and drive a golf ball about 250 yards. The righthanded Foster, 17, of Howland, shoots in the low 80s, like Libby, and has a 180-yard drive to the lefthanded Libby’s 230-yard drive, they say.

And when they compete against one other, sometimes at JaTo Highlands Golf Course in Lincoln, other times at Green Valley Golf Course on Route 2, the competition gets intense.

“There’s a lot of trash talk,” said their coach, Dwight Dawson of Howland, “and I have to listen to it, all day.”

The three are among eight Katahdin and Lincoln Lakes region junior golfers — ages 12 to 18 — who have formed a team that is raising $10,000 to compete in the National High School Golf Tournament this summer, said Mike Clendenning, owner of Green Valley.

Clendenning will host four-person scramble tournaments at Green Valley on Sunday and June 13 to raise money for the team’s trip to Port St. Lucie, Fla., where team members will stay at the PGA Resort hotel and participate in the weeklong golfing competition and coaching event.

“It’s a good opportunity for the kids to see how their own games stack up on the national level,” Clendenning said Tuesday. “This area has a great group of [high school] golfers. A lot of them went to the state championships this year, and won.

“Now [in Florida], they can see how they do representing the state of Maine,” he added.

The team is also looking for a sponsor among state businesses or others who want to help the team, such as tee-sign participants and others who want to make contributions, Clendenning said.

Other team members include Wyatt Foster, Marshall’s younger brother, along with Mike Thibodeau, Casey Knights, Nick L’Italien and Dan McKenzie, Clendenning said.

The 17-year-old Libby, a Howland resident, said he looks forward to going to Florida.

“This will put our names out there, because this is a national tournament,” Libby said. “We’ll be playing against kids who play year-round.”

The national tournament will also expose team members to college scouts, which might lead to scholarship offers, Dawson said.

As far as the players or Clendenning are aware, the only Maine teams to previously play at the national tournament were from Deering High School in Portland and Messalonskee High School in Oakland.

Those interested in playing in Sunday’s tournament, which starts at 9 a.m., can preregister at Green Valley or by calling 732-3006. The 18-hole tournament will cost $40 for golfers who walk the course and $50 for golfers who rent carts, Clendenning said.

Other junior golfers are welcome to play on the team, he said.

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