Capers wait it out, win Class B title

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Wait, and wait some more.

First, the Cape Elizabeth golf team was forced to wait out weather that wouldn’t get any better, postponing the Class A, B and C state tournaments three times.

Then, the Capers were forced to wait in the tee boxes as slow-play created six-and-a-half hour rounds at Natanis Golf Course last Wednesday.

The waits were worth it, though. None of that could knock the Capers off their games.

They knew they’d need four rounds of sub-80 golf to have a chance of winning the Class B title and that was exactly what they got.

Joe Geoghegan shot 75, Matt Bernstein 76, John Hayes 77 and Alex Moran 79. The final leaderboard was closer than the Capers expected and that made things a little more nerve-racking – with everyone tallying scores and crunching numbers – but the outcome was all that mattered.

The Capers edged out Poland by a score of 307-308 to take home the trophy one year after finishing second. Presque Isle was another shot back at 309.

First-year coach Greg Sandell, an assistant pro at Purpoodock, wouldn’t take credit for being the difference-maker.

“I think all the groundwork preceded me,” he said. “To have a bunch of seniors with a lot of experience was a very good thing to walk into. I think it was all a matter of lucky timing on my behalf, showing up at the right time.

“These guys played all summer. They’ve been playing for four years. They put their time in, so I’m really happy. I’m really proud of them. They deserve it.”

With seven seniors on the team – Geoghegan, Bernstein, Moran, Ross Negele, Chris Miller, Dave Gardiner and Ben Poirier – the Capers were able to stay focused all season. They set out to win it all, believed they would win it all and then won it all.

With those goals and expectations, though, came pressure.

“I think we (felt pressure) because in the beginning of the season all the newspapers were picking us to win,” said Bernstein. “And all season we only lost one match, and I think everyone around here was expecting us to win. It would’ve been kind of difficult if we didn’t.”

Difficult, sure, but not necessarily unexpected. It’s not always the best player or team that wins golf tourneys as much as it is the best player or team on that particular day.

Because of all the rain that fell in the weeks prior to the tournament, the Capers, like everyone else, didn’t get a chance to practice much. So, the rust had a chance to accumulate.

“It’s like anything. The more you do it on a consistent, day in, day out basis the easier it is,” said Sandell. “Even two or three days off can make a difference.”

The Capers did what they could.

“We kept our short games pretty sharp. I know I spent a lot of my time just on the putting green,” said Bernstein. “It was tough waiting to play, but I think we all did a pretty good job with it.”

Geoghegan was champing at the bit. He started his round with three straight birdies. He made some bogeys on the back nine, but still finished with a team-low score of 75.

“I think it’s been tough because no one’s really gotten to play that much at all,” he said. “But I think for our team the anticipation’s been built up a lot, and this just makes it even more sweeter.”

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