Carbone wins Maine Open golf tourney in playoff

Posted June 22, 2011, at 8:13 p.m.
Last modified June 22, 2011, at 10:45 p.m.

FALMOUTH — Even though Michael Carbone of Brewster, Mass., had just won the 93rd Charlie’s Maine Open Golf Championship in a three-way playoff at Falmouth Country Club on Wednesday, all he could think of was how he felt for fan favorite Shawn Warren of Windham.

“He deserved to win this tournament,” said Carbone of Warren, an assistant pro at Falmouth. “I feel badly. I’m ecstatic, but this is his home course.’’

Carbone won by parring the first hole in the playoff, while Warren and John Hickson of Topsham bogeyed it.

It was not Carbone’s first win, especially in New England, but they are starting to come closer together.

He won the Providence (R.I.) Open several years ago, then he won the Rhode Island Open in 2009, defeating Warren in a similar situation. That’s where the depth of Carbone’s sympathy for Warren’s plight came from.

“We were up on the last 18 (holes) by eight or nine over the third-place player,’’ said Carbone. “So it was just the two of us battling. He went up three, then I went up two. It was back and forth.

“And not once did he have anything but nice things to say. That’s when I knew he was a classy kid.’’

Holding a two-stroke lead when he stepped to the 18th tee Wednesday, Warren suffered a spectacular double bogey to set up the playoff.

His drive went way right, nearly going into the pond that protects the approach to the green.

Hitting out of the heavy grass on his next shot, he shanked it dead right. It cleared the pond, but crossed a practice green and stopped within a few yards of bouncing all the way to the clubhouse.

After a good shot to the green still gave him a chance to win, he three-putted. The first putt, from about 20 feet, rolled about 4 feet past, and the second hit the left edge and spun out.

“I would never think in a million years he would miss that putt,’’ said Carbone.

Warren left the course right after the tourney ended and wasn’t available for comment.

In the playoff, Hickson and Warren hit their tee shots into the right rough, while Carbone went left over the rocks.

Warren pulled his second shot into the left bunker. He blasted out well, but was about 8 feet long. Hickson and then Carbone both reached the green in two, with Hickson left of the cup on a strong slope. Carbone was in the front center of the green.

All three missed their first putts, but Carbone tapped in his second one. Hickson’s 2 1/2-foot putt to keep the playoff going lipped out and the title and the $9,000 first prize were Carbone’s.

“I was thinking about the shot I was going to hit on No. 2,’’ said Carbone. `”Then he missed and my jaw hit the ground.’’

Hickson blamed the miss on not hitting the putt hard enough, especially the second one.

“I hit it normal speed, but it was so breaky’’ that it turned sharply before it got to the hole, just catching the lip as it rolled by.

“The cookie crumbled,’’ said Hickson.

Carbone sees putting as the biggest difference between PGA Tour players and the ones who are trying to get there.

“I made a lot of putts this week,’’ said Carbone, who has qualified for the Tour before. “The difference between them and us is making the putts.’’

Warren started the day tied for the lead with Beon Yeong Lee of Cote-St-Luc, Quebec.

Lee scrambled through most of the front nine, staying under par for the first five holes until he birdied the par-5 sixth. But he then bogeyed Nos. 7, 8 and 9 to fall four back and he was unable to recover.

Warren then charged to the lead with birdies on 6, 7 and 8, but back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13 dropped him back to 6 under for the tournament.

He rallied with birdies on 14 and 15, but a disastrous double bogey on 18 dropped him back into the tie with Carbone and Hickson.

Hickson got up and down from a bunker on 17 to make birdie and get to 6 under, but his bid to go to 7 rolled past the cup on 18.

Carbone posted three birdies on his back nine to get to 7 under, but a tough-luck drive on 18 led to a final bogey and his 6-under total.

Jason Caron of Greenwich, Conn., finished fourth with 67—139, and Jeffrey Castle of Nottingham, Md.,was fifth at 140 following his 72.

Lee ended up tied for 15th at 144 after shooting a 78.

Jason Gall of Augusta was low amateur at 145 after shooting a 74 Wednesday. Two-time Maine Amateur champ Ryan Gay was a stroke back after firing a 71 for 145.

Now Carbone would like to build on this win with one at the Hollywood Slots Greater Bangor Open next month at Bangor Municipal Golf Course.

“I’d love to hold that one, too,’’ he said.

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