Jun. 11—SARANAC LAKE — Golf sometimes has these special moments that rarely happen but are never forgotten.
This year's Section VII golf championship was one of those special moments.
Lake Placid ended up finishing on top for the fourth consecutive season and winning the team title, but nothing was easy about capturing this championship.
For the first time in 15 years, the team title was determined with a two-hole playoff tiebreaker.
The Blue Bombers and Saranac finished deadlocked at 354 strokes apiece after each team added up to the same count.
This forced a playoff hole, which featured Lake Placid's Jack Armstrong (88), Brady Tremblay (84), Chris Byrne (91) and Grady Draper (91) against the Chiefs' Nik Hamel (84), Ian Zurlo (90), Nate Hamel (87) and Dax Lashway (93).
The title was set to be decided by the opposing foursomes' combined strokes after a playoff hole, but the drama got even better.
Somehow, the two squads combined for 20 strokes on the first hole, so they swung around and played the 18th again, which is where the Blue Bombers created separation.
Lake Placid shot five strokes less than Saranac on the 554-yard par-5 to seal the deal.
Alex Wright and Tanner Foley were also part of the championship Blue Bomber squad but did not score in Lake Placid's top four.
"I am happy for our guys and their guys as well over on Saranac," Blue Bombers coach John Glinski said. "Everyone played great golf, and nobody should be hanging their heads about anything."
The four-peat is nothing Glinski takes for granted and credited all the golfers the program has had through the recent years.
"I just try to communicate to the kids to put the time in over the summer," he said. "When you play and work at your game, it's great to see. You just have to have them get the bug to golf. The younger kids see the older kids, and then those same kids are stepping up and filling the shoes of the golfers before them."
The playoff never would have happened if it was not for the outstanding back-nine performance from the Chiefs' Lashway.
Without knowing, the title was all set to be taken by Lake Placid in regulation, but Lashway, the last person to finish up his 18-hole day for Saranac, did exactly what he needed to.
He carded a 42 on the back, a remarkable improvement from his 51 on the front, and forced the playoff situation.
He sealed the deal with a clutch 10-foot putt on the 18th green.
"I had no idea what the situation was at the time because nobody told me," Lashway said. "I was just trying to play golf. My hybrid was great today. I kept hitting that really far. I was also making a lot of good chips.
"I did not know that putt was for the tie, but either way, it's really fun and really hard here at sectionals, so that putt was great."
Peru (370), Beekmantown (371) and Northeastern Clinton (396) rounded out the top five team totals, while a familiar face is on top of the leaderboard in the individual competition that will resume today.
Willsboro's Regan Arnold, the defending Section VII individual boys champion, fired a 37-42-79 to claim first and go into the second 18 holes of competition up by four over Beekmantown's Dalton Kane (83).
"My strongest things were my irons and putting," Arnold said. "I was really bad off the tee. That will be something I need to improve for Day 2. I hit some balls out of bounds and had some big numbers on the back, which was disappointing after that front. I lost focus for a bit, and this course is really tough, and if you lose focus, it will punish you."
Arnold said he started to feel plenty of momentum when he birdied the third, fourth and fifth holes and hopes he can generate more of that momentum for the second round.
"I just have to think about it shot after shot, and I don't want to get complacent about things," Arnold said. "I want to play every hole like I am down a stroke and just stay locked in and focus and get going on a good stretch."
Tremblay sits in third place and is tied with Nik Hamel, and Moriah's Thomas Clarke (85) is currently fifth.
"The course played really tough," Tremblay said.
"The pins were in tough spots, and they forced you to hit shots that you could not leave the ball above the hole because they are super fast, and if you leave it above the hole, you are going to have a super fast putt down and can't be as aggressive with the putt. If you have that uphill putt, you can give it a little extra gas to get there."
But before the second round starts, Tremblay planned to enjoy the team victory with his fellow group of golfers and is thankful to be part of the team.
"Golf is mostly an individual sport, but when it comes to the team stuff, it's fun to battle against all the other schools. It's more of a team sport at sectionals," Tremblay said.
"It's fun because we are carrying on the tradition of Lake Placid golfers."
Golfers will begin teeing off at 9 a.m. today for the boys championship, and the girls individual title will also be competed for, and that group starts teeing off at 10:15 a.m..
Section VII Golf Championships
at Saranac Inn
1, Lake Placid, 354 (Wins two-hole playoff, 46-51); 2, Saranac, 354; 3, Peru, 370; 4, Beekmantown, 371; 5, Northeastern Clinton, 396; 6, Willsboro, 397; 7, Moriah, 4-6; 8, AuSable Valley, 414; 9, Saranac Lake, 427; 10, Plattsburgh High, 437; 11, Boquet Valley, 438; 12, Ticonderoga, 528.
Day 1 results (Cut)
1, Regan Arnold (WICS), 79; 2, Dalton Kane (BCS), 83; T3, Tremblay (LP), 84; T3, Nik Hamel (SCS), 84. 5, Thomas Clarke (MCS), 85; T6, Dominik Nuzzo (PCS), 87; T6, Nathan Hamel (SCS), 87; 8, Jack Armstrong (LP), 88; 9, Zach Dubray (BCS), 89; 10, Ian Zurlo (SCS), 90. T11, Keegan Seamone (BCS), 91; T11, Chris Byrne (LP), 91; T11, Grady Draper (LP), 91; T11, Chase Letourneau (NCCS), 91; 15, Liam Clark (PCS), 92; 16, Dax Lashway (SCS), 93; T17, Ben Fredette (NCCS), 95; T17, Keegan Smith (PCS), 95; T17, Nick Reithel (WICS), 95; 20, Macen Mero (PCS), 96; 21, Jack Thomas (AVCS), 97; 22, Logan Gilbo (MCS), 98; 23, Jacob Bechard (PCS), 99.
Boys 2nd Day Tee Times
9 a.m.- Jack Thomas (AuSable Valley), Logan Gilbo (Moriah), Jacob Bechard (Peru)
9:10 a.m.- Dax Lashway (Saranac), Ben Fredette (Northeastern Clinton), Nick Reithel (Willsboro), Macen Mero (Peru)
9:20 a.m.- Chase Letourneau (Northeastern Clinton), Grady Draper (Lake Placid), Keegan Seamone (Beekmantown), Keegan Smith (Peru)
9:30 a.m.- Zach Dubray (Beekmantown), Ian Zurlo (Saranac), Chris Byrne (Lake Placid), Liam Clark (Peru)
9:40 a.m.- Thomas Clarke (Moriah), Nathan Hamel (Saranac), Dominik Nuzzo (Peru), Jack Armstrong (Lake Placid)
9:50 a.m.- Regan Arnold (Willsboro), Dalton Kane (Beekmantown), Brady Tremblay (Lake Placid), Nik Hamel (Saranac)
Girls 2nd Day Tee Times
10:15 a.m.- Rachel Behm (Boquet Valley), Hailey Letourneau (Northeastern Clinton)
10:25 a.m.- Ella Lobdell (Boquet Valley), Samara Bosely (Northeastern Clinton), Ava Glover (Saranac)
10:40 a.m.- Ailsa Kohler (Boquet Valley), Emma Fredette (Northeastern Clinton), Leah Hamel (Saranac)
10:55 a.m.- Jasmyne Allen (AuSable Valley), Hanna Bechard (Northeastern Clinton), Tekla Fine-Lease (Willsboro)
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