While they may not be the same age, Colby Blanchard, 18, and Eric Larrabee, 14, share a lot in common. This fall, Blanchard will be a senior at Mount View High School and Larrabee will be starting his freshman year as a Mustang.

The two young golfers have been playing at the Country View Golf Course in Brooks about six times a week over the summer. Also, while they are in different age groups, they compete in many of the same tournaments on the Maine Junior Golf Tour.

Despite their ages, thanks to golf, the two have developed a strong friendship and will play on the same Mustang squad this fall.

“I first met Erik last year at the course and right off the bat he surprised me,” Blanchard said. “Most kids you see at the golf course at age 14 are just there to screw around and don’t take golf seriously, Erik was different.”

Blanchard said that although the two joke around on the course, Larrabee takes the game seriously.

“Now he has his fun, but he is an intense competitor and he is always working on his game,” Blanchard said. “When we play together, Erik and I joke around a lot, and always try and find some way to mess with the others’ head. It’s this kind of interaction on a daily basis that helps make both of us better during the season.”

The two surely have improved their games over the summer.

Blanchard has participated on the Maine Junior Golf Tour and even qualified to play in the prestigious Maine Amateur. To qualify for the Maine Amateur he had to make a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at the Toddy Brook Golf Course in North Yarmouth.

The Maine Amateur was held at the difficult Kebo Valley Golf Course in Bar Harbor. The layout is “a demanding course for any golfer” and on the first day Blanchard did not do as well as hoped, he said. On the second day, though, he settled down and ended up improving the score of the previous day by shooting 80 to better his previous day’s 18-hole round of 94.

On the Maine Junior Golf Tour, Blanchard’s best finishes for 18 holes were 78 at Toddy Brook and 79 at Jato Highlands in Lincoln.

Larrabee has had a pretty good season as well.

“I have really improved my game,” he said. “At the beginning of this year I really wasn’t that good of a golfer and by now I’ve actually gained a lot of skill and I’ve played at many, many courses and tournaments.”

Larrabee said his best effort came in July at the Natanis Golf Club in Vassalboro when he shot 75 for 18 holes, including making a birdie to win his age group. Larrabee also played at the Bangor Municipal Golf Course where he earned his first top-three finish.

However, the highlight of his summer on links came on the Lakewood Golf Course in Madison where he recorded an eagle. “That was my first eagle and that’s a big deal to me,” he said. “I’ve just felt really good about my game this year.”

Larrabee got into golf about three years ago when his father, Jeff, started working at the Country View course. It was his father that got him playing.

“My dad has always played golf all his life and he’s a pretty good golfer,” Larrabee said. “He just kinda took me over there a couple days and I would hit golf balls on the lawn and I got like, ‘Hey, this is fun, I might as well keep playing it.”

Now Larrabee’s favorite part is seeing the 20 to 30-foot putts drop into the hole. “That really makes me feel good,” he said.

The more experienced Blanchard has been golfing regularly since my freshman year of high school, but got into golf when he first found his grandfather’s clubs in his attic. “I was about as tall as the clubs were, but I loved to hit golf balls all day on his lawn,” Blanchard said.

“I would have to say I play golf because it always presents a new challenge,” said Blanchard, who also participates in track and field and basketball for the Mustangs. “All other sports seem to be the same. The basketball court never changes, and the high jump is never done any different then it always is. There are an infinite number of shots on a golf course, and that is what keeps me coming back again and again.”

The love of golf is what brought the two youngsters together and by playing together they get better at the game. It seems to work out.

“We kinda just play along and I’ll give him a few pointers, he’ll give me some pointers and we just go out and have a good time a lot of times.” Larrabee said.

Larrabee said they help each other because he is better at his short game and Blanchard is better at using the longer clubs, “so we kind of help each other on our strengths and weaknesses.”

Blanchard said that the two have different games mostly due to physical attributes. “I am about seven inches taller and hit the ball a lot further, so the strength in my game comes in my distance,” he said.

Blanchard said Larrabee’s short game is strong. “There is no one out there that I would trust more to get up and down for par then Erik,” he said. “By the time Erik is a senior, look out, because he will be unstoppable, I can guarantee it.”

Even with such admiration from Blanchard, Larrabee said that, in some ways, he looks up to his older counterpart. “I look up to him because — well he is a lot taller than me — and he’s a very good athlete,” Larrabee said.

“To hear that Erik looks up to me in some ways means a great deal, because he is a good kid and I know he is going to go on to do tremendous things in the golf world,” Blanchard said. He added that “there isn’t much I can teach Erik about golf that he doesn’t already know” and the tips he gives are simply on quirks in swings.

Looking to the future, Blanchard, who could be the Mustangs number one golfer this fall, said he would like to pass the torch to Larrabee. Blanchard will leave for college, hopefully Pace University in N.Y., next year and has one year to play with Larrabee on the Mount View team.

Blanchard would like to teach the freshman during his first season “as I expect him to take leadership of the team after I leave,” he said. “Erik has a handle of the game on the course, I just hope that this year I can show him how to lead the rest of our team in a positive manner.”

Village NetMedia Sports Reporter Frederick Freudenberger can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at fritz@villagesoup.com.