FALMOUTH, Maine (July 14, 2011) -- JJ Harris from Falmouth Country Club kept his friend Ryan Gay on his toes in the final round of the Maine Amateur Championship Thursday at Portland Country Club.
The two friends, playing along with Portland member (and crowd favorite) Jason Gall, formed the final group of the championship, which saw Gay start the day at three under while Gall was one over and Harris was two over.
Gay and Harris both played exceptional golf on the front with one-under-par 34s. Harris birdied three and four, making a bogey on nine to turn at one over going into the final nine holes. Gay, who bogeyed two, made birdies on three and eight heading to the back.
That's where things got interesting and Harris made his move.
Harris birdied 10. Harris birdied 11.
When Gay made bogey on 15, Harris was just one back. A Harris par on 17 put it all square heading up the 18th hole. Both players hit great drives (as did Gall), and had shots into the 18th green with the wind swirling overhead and from behind. Harris came about two inches from the perfect shot, but saw his approach fall just short and into the greenside bunker. Gay hit his approach about 15 feet above the hole and then sucked it back to about eight feet above the hole.
Harris' shot out of the bunker didn't run to as close as he'd like, but he still had a shot at the par. Gay putted first and saw his attempt slide a good three feet -- Mark Plummer I-really-don't-want-to-putt-this range --by the hole.
Harris gave it his best, just missing. He tapped it in for his five and stood back to watch Gay's putt to see if he'd be going on in a playoff.
Gay, composed as a former champion, ran it in and the first step he made was to Harris. To congratulate his friend. As they hugged, one congratulated the other on his third title -- pretty good for a 20-year-old -- while the other felt for his friend at coming so close and just falling short.
Pretty good friends. Pretty good golf. Pretty good junior program we've got going here in Maine.
Harris and Gay now move on to the New England Championship next week at Metacomet. In the meantime, two current junior -- Seth Sweet from Madison and Joe Walp from Portland -- leave today's championship to jump on a plane tomorrow to head to the US Junior Championships at Gold Mountain in Bremerton, Washington.
Best of luck to all four players in their quests.
For complete tournament results and notes from the event, please see below...
After two rain showers, Mother Nature finally decided to have her say in what's going on at the Maine Amateur Championships. She decided that, with but four groups remaining, play needed to be delayed so she provided a thunder storm that delayed play by an hour.
But the second round is finally done and the cut for tomorrow's round stands at 153 and 46 players have advanced.
As we head into tomorrow's final round, one thing is certain: The red pen's not going to run out of ink this week...
Ryan Gay equaled his first-round score of 69 in today's second round to take a commanding lead. Gay is the only red number in the totals column at two-under-par 138. Craig Briggs had the only other round under par today as his score of 69 moved him into fourth place.
Gay has a three-shot lead over last year's runner up Jason Gall. Gall combined yesterday's one-under-par round of 69 with today's 72 -- thanks to a pair of bogeys on 17 and 18 -- to finish with a two day total of 141.
JJ Harris has a hold on third place as he added a 72 today to yesterday's 70. The three will tee off last tomorrow at Portland with a 10 am tee time. In all 46 players -- or 16 tee times -- will play tomorrow and, by virtue of having made the cut, will also advance to next year's Amateur Championship at Sunday River.
For notes from Wednesday's second round, and Tuesday's first round click here
View results for Maine Amateur Golf Championship