It was just one shot — a 170-yard six-iron up the hill on the par 3 ninth hole of Turf Valley's Hialeah course. But for freshman Bennett Buch and his Marriotts Ridge teammates, it meant so much more than that.
The tee shot to within four feet, along with the ensuing putt for birdie that wrapped up an 85-82 victory over defending county-champion Glenelg, was a statement that this Mustangs' group is ready for prime time.
"I knew the match was close - exactly how close I wasn't sure - but I knew I needed to hit a good shot," Buch said. "It really was as much for me as it was for the team, because I was playing pretty bad and needed something good to finish with. I guess it worked out."
Buch's birdie, worth four points under the county's modified stableford scoring system, secured him a round of 23 points. His day, alongside the efforts of Joe Dorsch (25 points), Michael Dorsch (21) and Mike Walker (16), was enough to unseat a Gladiator team that hadn't lost a regular season match since September 2010.
And considering Marriotts Ridge's youth, with just one senior among its starting line-up Friday, it was a somewhat eye-opening result against a Glenelg team that features three seniors.
"Honestly, I did not expect to win this one. Nothing against our guys, just with our lack of match experience, I'm not sure many people thought we had much of a chance," Marriotts Ridge coach Mark Dubbs said. "But these guys believed in eachother and they blocked everything out. They found out a lot about themselves today."
Glenelg, although not at its best Friday, did make Marriotts Ridge earn it. Matt Forester led the way with 22 points, followed by Greg Leake (21), Steven Segrist (20) and Adam Leake (19). Ultimately it was simply too many bad holes, a combined six double bogies or worse, that did the team in.
"Give Marriotts Ridge credit, they were the better team today," Glenelg coach Chris Beil said. "We made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes, but that's going to happen every now and then. And if we're going to lose, I'd rather do it now where we have time to refocus and allow it to make us better."
In the early stages, it was actually Marriotts Ridge making the mistakes. The Mustangs saw Joe Dorsch and Walker each double-bogey the second hole, Buch double-bogey Nos. 1 and Nos. 3, along with Michael Dorsch triple bogey No. 2.
All of them, however, pulled things together.
Joe Dorsch, who ended up shooting an impressive one-over-par over his final seven holes, said a long putt on No. 3 really helped his confidence.
"Seeing that putt hit the hole and bounce up and in was a really big boost … it settled me down," said Dorsch, whose 25 points tied a career high.
The Dorsch brothers ended up winning their match in the first group by four shots, setting the stage for Buch and Walker to seal the deal down the stretch.
In addition to his birdie on the ninth, Buch added a two-putt birdie on the par 5 seventh hole. Walker also came through with a big par on No. 8.
"Glenelg's a really good team … we all knew this was a big one," Buch said.
Marriotts Ridge 85, Glenelg 82
MR (2-0): J. Dorsch 25, Buch 23, M. Dorsch 21, Walker 16.
G (1-1): Forester 22, G. Leake 21, Segrist 20, A. Leake 19.