Bombers climb to 3rd-straight title

From the left, coach John Glinski, Jack Armstrong, Hunter Wilmot, Cole Jacques, Grady Tromblay and Brendan Bullock celebrate Lake Placid’s third-straight Section VII team golf title Thursday at Craig Wood Golf Course. Missing from the photo is Grady Draper, who also played for the Blue Bombers Thursday. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — Lake Placid’s golfers saw one of their streaks end Monday when they failed to capture the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference regular-season title for the sixth year in a row.

Three days later, the Blue Bombers made sure they weren’t going to let another championship run come to a halt.

Playing on their home course at Craig Wood on Thursday, the Blue Bombers claimed their third-straight Section VII team title and fourth in the past five years.

Six golfers from each squad competed and the lowest four rounds from those golfers were used in the scoring. In the end, the Blue Bombers topped the 11-team field, 10 strokes ahead of the next-closest finisher.

Hunter Wilmot, Jack Armstrong, Brendan Bullock and Brady Tromblay combined to fire a winning 269 total for Lake Placid on the first day of the 36-hole tournament. All four are in the group of 25 who advanced to Friday’s round that will determine this year’s individual champion and the nine-member team that will represent Section VII in the state championships at Cornell University.

Hunter Wilmot launches a long tee shot on the 12th hole, where he carded a par. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

The two teams that overtook the Blue Bombers in the regular season placed second and third. Saranac Central, the CVAC’s runner-up, was second with a 279 total, and Peru, the CVAC’s unbeaten champion, placed third with a 393.

Apparently, youth was no detriment to the Blue Bombers, as a junior, two freshmen and an eighth-grader teamed up to get the job done. Wilmot, a junior was the oldest of the four and was Lake Placid’s top golfer all season long. He led the way again with a 90.

Armstrong and Tromblay were next with 92s and Bullock came through with a 95. Every other team in the tournament had at least one scoring player shoot a round of 100 or higher.

“Unreal, unreal; a pleasant surprise,” Lake Placid coach John Glinski said. “I knew we had a shot. We lost some matches, (but) especially playing at home, I thought we’d be in the mix. We were 90, 92, 92, 95. That’s real consistent for four guys. That helped us. If you look at other teams, they had some low scorers but they didn’t have that third or maybe that fourth guy that shot a good score.”

A total of 15 schools were represented in Thursday’s round, including four that did not field a full team. Reagan Arnold, one of two Willsboro golfers competing, heads into Friday’s final 18-hole round with the lead after shooting an 86. Beekmantown’s Korntawat Chavanchankij was a shot back with an 87. Saranac Central’s Nic Hamel and John Glover of Seton Catholic tied for third with 88s.

Jack Armstrong of Lake Placid chose his putter coming off a steep embankment to land his second shot on the 13th green. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

One third of the field made the cut of 101 to play Friday.

The match was incredibly close at the halfway point, with just a handful of strokes separating Lake Placid, Peru and Saranac when the scores from the front nine were recorded. The Blue Bombers then headed to the back nine, the same holes they play during the regular season. Glinski said that provided his team with the edge it needed.

“I just think playing the back nine especially, helped us. It’s our home course,” Glinski said, adding that he was encouraged when Wilmot and Armstrong came in with their rounds of 90 and 92 and was hopeful knowing that Tromblay and Bullock started off with rounds of 46 on the first nine holes.

“Looking at the scores, those are good, and then we have the two 46s, I said ‘If they can just keep it together on the back and not blow up, we’re looking good.'” he said. “They know the course. It’s a factor.”

As it turned out, Tromblay, an eighth-grader, and Bullock, a freshman, remained consistent, finishing with back-nines in the 40s, which included a number of holes played in the rain.

Lake Placid’s Brady Tromblay chips onto the 12th green at his hometown’s Craig Wood course Thursday in the opening round of the Section VII golf championships. The Blue Bombers won the team title for the third year in a row. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Wilmot said it was nice to knock off Peru, as well as Saranac, but added turning the tables wasn’t something that was on his mind prior to Thursday’s round.

“It was good to beat them after they beat us,” Wilmot said. “Not until we were here did I think ‘we could really win this.’ It wasn’t a bad day, but there’s definitely room for improvement at this point. Everyone is like that though. There’s no low scores.”

Cole Jacques and Grady Draper also represented Lake Placid’s championship team and did not figure in on the scoring. Jacques, a senior missed the cut by two shots in what turned out to be his final day competing as a Blue Bombers student-athlete. Draper, on the other hand, is only an eighth-grader and still has four more years of high school athletics ahead.

“I was really hoping to make the cut,” Jacques said. “It’s kind of sad though, knowing it’s the last day of high school sports. This is my third year on the golf team. It feels good to win the section. Last year, I think I shot a 117 at sectionals, so I improved by 14 strokes. I’ve improved. Golf is just fun to play. I’ll probably be out here tomorrow, right after they finish sectionals, playing a round by myself. I’m not giving it up.”

Repeating the same scenario as a season ago at the Section VII championship, Zach Churco was the only Saranac Lake player to reach the second round. A single shot was the difference, as the junior shot a 100 to make the cut by one stroke.

Brendan Bullock of the Blue Bombers nearly drains a long putt on the 12th hole. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Red Storm seventh-grader Noah Jewtraw was in the running early after carding a 47 on the front, but the youngster lost ground over the final nine holes and finished with a 103.

“He’s not used to playing 18 holes,” Red Storm coach Ian Breen said. “He actually shot 47 on the tougher nine, I think. A young kid, I’m glad he had a good round, just missed the cut by two shots.”

Summing up the season, Breen said he thought the Red Storm would be more successful, and hopes his young team can come back stronger next season.

“It was OK,” Breen said. “I thought we would be a little better, even though it’s a young team. We had some changeover. Finishing 2-8 was not what I was looking for, but it is what it is. Will McClure is graduating, but hopefully, all the other kids will be back and we can build on it. We’ll see. We have middle schoolers playing, and that’s great.”

Friday’s final 18-hole round in the Section VII tournament is slated to start at 8:50 a.m.