MANCHESTER, Maine — Tuesday was a special day for Justin Speirs during the second round of the Charlie’s Maine Open Championship held at Augusta Country Club.
The 8-year-old from Sierra Vista, Ariz., rode with his uncle Jesse Speirs in the golf cart for the day.
“No, he just invited me,” Justin said when asked if it was his idea to ride in the cart.
“He just said, ‘you’ve got to be quiet,’” said Justin, who explained he accompanies his parents, Justin and Jennifer Speirs, and younger brother Ryan, 4, to Maine for a vacation each summer.
Seldom are young children seen riding in carts during professional golf events but, by all accounts, Justin handled himself like a pro.
“It was awesome. He’s great,” said Jesse Speirs, a Bangor native who finished in a second-place tie at the tournament, one shot behind winner Evan Harmeling.
Jesse Speirs was confident Justin would be able to handle the long afternoon, despite his age.
“My brother and sister-in-law have done a great job. He’s raised well,” Jesse said.
“He’s a thinker. He had a good time.”
Justin, who said he is practicing golf, tried to provide moral support for his uncle. He had fun sharing the cart.
“I really liked it. I liked him getting the birdies and stuff,” said Justin, who said he did not offer his uncle any tips during the round.
Jesse Speirs said he and his nephew have similar personalities, so his presence helped him stay relaxed.
“It didn’t hurt any,” he said. “I’m pretty quiet myself on the golf course, I really don’t talk, so it was fun just to have him there.”
Justin was understandably interested in whether uncle Jesse was getting birdies and remembers one, in particular.
“I think he got kind of close. He was down there, on the edge of the green, and he hit it in,” recalled Justin, who said Jesse was “being quiet most of the time.”
When there was a birdie, Justin was quick to share a high-five with his uncle.
“It was awesome,” Jesse said.
Jesse Speirs said his two weeks in Maine — he finished tied for 21st at last week’s Greater Bangor Open — have been a nice break before returning to play on the PGA Canadian Tour.
“It’s great coming back to see family and friends,” he said. “It was great to play in the Maine Open, I usually just come up for the GBO. It was great to get down here and see a lot of people I played state golf with.”
It’s in the bag
Charlie’s Maine Open Championship winner Harmeling not only distinguished himself with his play during the tournament.
He also sported a simple, black golf bag devoid of any fancy designs, logos or accessories.
In fact, it didn’t appear large enough for a full complement of clubs.
“I’ve got all 14 of them,” Harmeling said of the Ping “Moon” bag.
“The Moon bag’s great. I’m a huge fan,” he added. “I don’t like carrying a bigger bag around, just because I’ll stuff stuff in it and it’ll end up being really heavy by the end of it.”
Harmeling is a 2012 graduate of Princeton University, where he studied politics. He said he was a solid college player, but did not win any tournaments.
He, along with Speirs, is headed to Calgary, Alberta, for the next stop on the PGA Canadian Tour.
Maine Open venue secured
The Maine State Golf Association on Tuesday announced that the Charlie’s Maine Open Championship has found a home for 2014.
The event will again be held at Augusta Country Club, for the third consecutive year.
Charlie’s Motor Mall in Augusta, headed by Charlie Shuman and Stephen Shuman, has agreed to continue serving as the title sponsor of the Maine Open.