BANGOR, Maine — Marc Hurtubise of Chambly, Quebec, aced the third hole at Bangor Municipal Golf Course on Saturday en route to a one-stroke victory in the 43rd Greater Bangor Open golf tournament.
But the 45-year-old lefthander pointed to the previous hole as the key.
“The difference was the putt on [No.] 2,” said Hurtubise, who posted a 2-under-par 67 for a two-round total of 131 in the rain-shortened tournament sponsored by Hollywood Slots Hotel and Raceway.
Hurtubise’s approach shot over the pond spun back off the front of the green into the rough.
“My chip I left 12 feet short [of the hole], and I made it,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘There’s a turning point in every tournament and that was it.’”
Then he knocked a 7-iron in on the 165-yard, par-3 third and doubled his lead from two strokes to four.
After that, his lead was never fewer than two shots until he bogeyed the last hole. But bogey was good enough.
Mike Welch of North Quincy, Mass., and Dustin Cone of Bennington, Vt., tied for second at 132. Welch posted the day’s best round, a 64, and Cone matched Hurtubise’s 67.
Defending champion Shawn Warren of Windham led another trio tied for third at 133. Warren also turned in a 67, Jesse Larson of Mendon, Vt., had a 68, and David Hufham of Altamonte Springs, Fla., shot a 66.
Don Robertson of Irving, Texas, took low senior pro honors after a second straight 67 for 134, and Jesse Speirs of Bangor topped the amateurs following a 72 for a 143 total.
Hurtubise began the day with a one-stroke lead over Cone and Larson after his 64 in Thursday’s opening round.
He immediately increased it when he knocked his approach shot on the first hole to 18 inches and made the birdie putt while Cone and Larson made pars.
Larson drained a 6-foot downhill putt for birdie on No. 2 to go to 5 under, one behind Hurtubise, but Larson gave that back when he three-putted No. 3 after Hurtubise made his ninth career hole-in-one.
“One bounce and it went in the hole,” said Hurtubise of his ace. “Jess thought it was long and Dustin said it may have gone in, but I saw it disappear totally.”
Standing on the fourth tee, Hurtubise was up by four on each of his playing partners, who were still his closest pursuers. He also had another battle on his hands.
“It’s impossible not to think of winning after making a hole-in-one,” he said after collecting the $11,000 winner’s check form the total purse of $50,000.
Warren said that ace may have been an indicator for the rest of the players.
“In such a short tournament [Friday’s second round was canceled by rain], you’ve got to have things go your way,” said Warren, who won a similarly shortened GBO last year. “When you make an ace, I think that’s a sign that maybe it’s your week.”
Hurtubise bogeyed No. 4, the only par 5 for the field, and Cone birdied it to cut the lead to two again, but Hurtubise parred everything until dropping a 4-foot putt for birdie on the 207-yard, par-3 11th and went back to 8 under.
“When I made that birdie on 11, I told myself to just hit greens and make two-putts,” said Hurtubise.
“I made them come to me,” he said.
Warren pressed to get close on the final hole.
“I had it to 6 under with about a 12- to 14-foot to [hopefully] tie, but I hit it through the break,” said Warren, who three-putted to also bogey the last hole.
Hurtubise credited his putting, especially after leaving himself some longer putts to save par.
He injured his rib cage on July 6, aggravated it a couple of days later, and had to stop playing for eight days.
“It’s just starting to feel better,” he said.
In the meantime all he could do was practice, which he never does.
“I couldn’t hit balls, so I said, ‘[Shoot] I have to practice,” he said, so he practiced putting, and it made the difference.
“Practice putting, who knew?” he said with a laugh, a big smile, and his biggest check ever.