Seavey captures State of Maine title

Posted July 21, 2010, at 10:20 p.m.

    CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Jeff Seavey, a teaching pro at Samoset Resort in Rockport, has played with Shawn Warren of Windham in the final group of a tournament three times.

Wednesday, at the 21st State of Maine Championship at Sugarloaf Golf Club, he won that matchup for the first time.

Seavey defeated Warren on the second playoff hole after they finished the 36-hole stroke-play event tied at 2-over-par 146. Seavey posted a 75 Wednesday, while Warren, the first-round leader Tuesday at 68, turned in a 78 Wednesday.

They finished a stroke ahead of pros John Hickson of Brunswick and David Grygiel of Bethel and amateur Mark Plummer of Manchester. Hickson shot the day’s best round, a 1-under-par 71, to post his 147; Grygiel started off fast but double-bogeyed the final hole for 74; and Plummer, a four-time winner of this event since it began in 1990, recorded a 75.

Amateur Brandon Wohl (73 Wednesday) and pro Jim Fairbanks (76) of Nonesuch River Golf Club in Scarborough tied for sixth at 148, and defending champion Mike Worroll (75) of Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth was alone in eighth at 149.

“I played with [Warren] in the final group of the GBO [Hollywood Slots Greater Bangor Open] the year he won [2008] and then again in the [’08] Maine Open,” said Seavey. Hickson won that one.

“I got one back. Now we’re even,” said Seavey, who was also quick to point out that he and Warren are friends as well as competitors.

“We roomed together this week,” Seavey said.

The two may get another chance to play together at the GBO, a three-day tournament at Bangor Municipal Golf Course that starts today.

“Going into Bangor, I feel good [about his play],” said Warren, a 25-year-old assistant pro at Falmouth Country Club.

“At Bangor, you’re a little more free to swing,” added Seavey.

Seavey, 44, savored Wednesday’s victory.

“It’s been a long time since I won anything big in the chapter,” said Seavey, a member of the Maine chapter of the New England Professional Golfers’ Association, which conducted the event.

Seavey was glad he won, but he would have rather taken an easier route.

“It was exciting to win in a playoff,” Seavey continued, “but I would have preferred to par the last hole and not have to do that.”

He wasn’t the only player who wished he could redo at least one hole.

Warren’s big one came on No. 7, their 16th hole as the top half of the field started on No. 10 and the rest started on No. 1.

“I had 40 feet for birdie,” said Warren of the 363-yard, par-4 hole. His ball was on the left collar and the pin was cut in the top back shelf.

Warren rapped his putt to get it up a steep rise on the green and onto the shelf, but the ball continued to roll to the back right edge. He needed three more putts to finish the hole with a double-bogey 6.

“When you play golf as much as we do,” said Warren, “you shouldn’t ever four-putt.”

Warren parred the next hole and birdied the last one to make up three strokes and tie Seavey, but it was only a temporary reprieve.

After they parred the first playoff hole, No. 10, Warren teed off first on the 206-yard, par-3 11th. The tee boxes are high above the green, making the hole play shorter than it says on the card.

“I tried to go at the flag with a 9-iron,” said Warren, “but I overturned [hooked] it 15 yards left.”

The ball went over the mounds behind the green and into the trees and bushes back there. Warren conceded the hole by not playing out of the trouble area.

“When Shawn hit over the green,” said Seavey, “I didn’t change my plan.”

He hit his tee shot on the green and two-putted for the par which sealed the victory.

“I was just fortunate Shawn didn’t have his best game,” said a relieved Seavey.

Plummer, who started the day four strokes behind Warren and was playing in the next-to-last group, got off to an unusual start, going birdie, triple bogey, eagle on the first three holes, an even-par beginning. He also played the last four holes bogey, birdie, bogey, bogey.

Straightening out either the triple bogey or eliminating bogeys on two of the last three holes would have given Plummer his fifth State of Maine title.

“I hit the ball good, just over the green sometimes, the same problem everybody else had,” said Plummer, a 13-time winner of the Maine Amateur.

After last year’s tournament had to be postponed to late August due to soggy grounds, Seavey was impressed by Sugarloaf’s condition.

“I’ve been coming here since ’94, ’95, when I was still an amateur,” said Seavey. “I’ve never seen it this good. It’s the firmest it’s ever been.”

Firmness was good for Seavey and many other players because it forced long hitters such as Warren to use less club off the tees, putting them on a near-equal footing with their shorter-hitting foes.

That flustered the long hitters some.

“I kind of misclubbed a couple of times today,” said Warren, “then I just kept on making bad mistakes.”

Warren was still feeling the sting afterward.

“It’s always disappointing to blow a lead like I had,” he said.

Seavey said that they had discussed the difficulty of playing a tight course such as Sugarloaf, where the ball also flies farther because of the thinner air at the higher altitude.

“Shawn and I agreed, you’re always just one shot away from a train wreck,” said Seavey. “I wouldn’t want to play it every week, I’d go crazy. But it’s fun to play it once a year.”

Especially for the winner.

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