Kauppila, Daniel Qualify For New England Competition
Old Town’s Chris Kauppila and Cole Daniel snagged two of the four available spots in the Maine High School Class B Individual Championship at Natanis on Saturday, qualifying them for the High School New England Competition next June in New Hampshire. Kauppila’s 78 put him in 3rd place, while Daniel’s 80 put him in a three-way tie for 4th.
Things didn’t start out so good for Kauppila, who made double-bogey on his first two holes. “His starting hole was #7, a tough little par 3,” said Old Town coach Joe Perdue. “His tee shot backed off the green and was about three inches inside the water hazard in front of the green. The ball was still on the grass, but since it was marked as an ‘environmentally sensitive area’ he couldn’t play it, and had to drop back behind the hazard.” Kauppila couldn’t get up-and-down, leading to his double-bogey. Then on the 8th hole, he sliced his tee shot into the woods, punched out into a bunker, left his bunker shot short of the green, making a six on the par four.
An errant tee shot on his third hole of the day left him in the woods with no shot at the green. After punching it out of the trees, he was faced with 160-yards to a difficult green. He stuck an 8-iron to about six feet and drained the putt to save par.
“That was really the turning point for Chris,” said Perdue. “He makes an all-time great par on #9 from nowhere, then makes birdie on the par 3 10th hole, and another birdie on the par 3 13th hole. He sprinkled in a couple of bogies after that, but he was solid the rest of the day. If he doesn’t save that par on #9, I’m not sure he would have recovered.”
Daniel also had a rough start to his round, making bogey on his first five holes, then adding a double-bogey to go with that, leaving him in bad shape. “Cole qualified for the New England Competition last year, and he really wanted to go back,” said Perdue. “After that start when things were really looking bad, he just put his head down and started grinding out pars.”
With three holes left, Daniel made birdie on the par 5 #1 (he started on #4), putting him at +9 for the day. After making par on the tricky par four #2, he hit two great shots on the par 5 #3, leaving him a relatively short eagle putt. After burning the edge of the hole, he tapped in for birdie to shoot 80, which ultimately got him his spot to the New England Competition.
“Finishing the last three holes two-under-par to qualify, that’s good stuff,” smiled Perdue, shaking his head. “There aren’t too many kids his age that would be mentally strong enough to do that. But Cole has been playing competitive golf since he was in the 6th grade, and has been in a lot of pressure situations. All of that experience paid off for him today. It does not surprise me that he was able to pull this out.”
The Old Town HS Coyote Golf Team qualified six players for the Maine State High School Individual Championship. Senior Alex Blackie wrapped up his high school career with an 83, good for a tie for 9th place and a top 10 medal. Seniors Wes Kauppila and Samantha Dauphinee, along with junior Dillon Leland rounded out Old Town’s scoring with 93, 105 and 108 respectively.