VASSALBORO, Maine — When a fortunate turn of events happens to some people, they’ll quip that it’s better to be lucky than good.
Sam Grindle of Deer Isle-Stonington High School showed Saturday what can happen when a golfer is both.
While Grindle posted a 4-under-par 68 on the Arrowhead Course at Natanis to win the Class C boys title, it wasn’t a case of hitting every shot straight down the middle.
“I had a few wayward shots, but, I mean, that’s golf,” said a smiling Grindle after he won the crown by six strokes under cold and windy conditions.
“It’s a game of inches. If you get into trouble, you’ve gotta get out, and I managed that pretty well,” he said.
That was best exemplified on three particular holes in a five-hole stretch in the middle of his round.
On the 18th hole — Grindle’s ninth as he started on No. 10 — he hit his drive on the 375-yard, downhill par 4 well to the right. While it’s quite open there, he had to hit his approach shot out of wet rough over a pond to a green with a strong back-to-front slope. Zach Deblois of St. Dominic Academy of Auburn, Grindle’s nearest competitor at the time, had a similar lie.
Grindle, hitting first, knocked his approach shot 3 feet below the hole and made birdie. Deblois, who was two strokes back, hit his over the back of the green and had to chip back down the slope. Deblois managed a high short pitch that landed softly, but he missed a curling sidehill putt and made bogey.
On the next hole, No. 1, a 490-yard par 5, Grindle was in a fairway hazard on the right side that had grass and weeds that came to mid-calf height.
His shot from the hazard went left into the edge of the trees separating the first hole from the fourth. Grindle knocked that one on 10 feet away and two-putted for par. Deblois, meanwhile, hit his second shot into a hazard and finished with a double bogey to fall six strokes back.
On the fourth hole, a very short par-5 as it was set up, Grindle’s tee shot went right again, stopping on the opposite side of the tree he had been next to on the first hole.
He knocked his second shot onto the edge of the green, keeping the ball below the tree limbs, and two-putted for birdie when bogey or worse was possible.
“I got lucky a few times,” said Grindle. “When I hit bad shots, they ended up in OK spots where I could get myself out without any damage. Pretty lucky.”