June 20, 2018
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Deer Isle golfer wins Bunyan tourney in playoff after defending champ leaves course

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Deer Isle’s Sam Grindle hit an 8-iron on the 158-yard fourth hole earlier in the round but pulled it a little left, so he went with a 9-iron on the fourth extra hole of the 50th annual Paul Bunyan Amateur Golf Tournament Sunday at the Kebo Valley Club, and that made all the difference.

He stuck his tee shot 5 feet from the hole and sank his putt for a birdie, earning him the victory over Jack Wyman of South Freeport.

“The 9-iron was the right club,” said 19-year-old Grindle, who won the Class D state golf championship in 2012. “When I hit my tee shot, it was headed at the flag, and I hoped it was the right club.”

Wyman’s tee shot was 27 feet short of the hole and his putt appeared to be on line, but it came up 1 foot short.

“The greens were a little slower in the afternoon,” said Wyman, a lefty who is originally from Falmouth and recently graduated with a master’s degree in business from Endicott College in Massachusetts.

After Wyman missed his birdie putt, the only thing that separated Grindle from the win was his 5-foot putt.

“It was pretty straightforward up the hill,” said Grindle, who attended Rollins College this past year and was a redshirt on the golf team. “I was due. I hadn’t made a birdie in 21 holes.”

Both golfers finished the two-day tournament with 151s. Joining them in the playoff was Lance Bernier of Lincoln.

Ricky Jones of Thomaston, the defending champ, shot a 72 following his 79 at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono on Saturday. He would have also been included in the playoff, but he left after his round. When he was contacted, he was more than an hour away. If they waited for him to arrive, it would have been an undue delay, so tourney officials made the decision to hold the playoff without him.

Bernier, a former Husson University standout, was eliminated on the 392-yard par-4 first hole when his chip sailed 12 feet past the hole and he missed his par putt.

That left Grindle and Wyman.

Grindle sank a 14-foot putt for par and watched as Wyman missed a 7-foot birdie putt that would have won it.

“It broke more than I thought it was going to, and I might have pushed it,” said Wyman, whose putt broke left of the hole.

Grindle had a golden opportunity to win it on the second playoff hole, the 443-yard par five, but he missed a 4-footer left.

He had to scramble on the third extra hole when he underhit an iron shot, which pushed it into the banking in front of the green causing it to roll back. But he chipped to within 2 ½ feet and sank his putt to extend the playoff.

“I hit a sand wedge,” Grindle said. “That was key, because he hit a good second shot.”

Wyman’s drive on the 355-yard par-4 third hole was 50 yards shy of Grindle’s, but he hit an exceptional iron shot to within 20 feet of the cup and converted his par after missing the 20-footer.

“I finished third last year and second this year, so hopefully I can get one next year,” said Wyman, whose father father, Terry, has been his caddie the last four years.

“I love this tournament,” he said. “It’s kind of like a kickoff tournament for the year, and it is a mini-vacation for us.”

Former University of Maine basketball star Liz Coffin, a Portage Lake native, won the women’s competition with a 165.

“My chipping and putting saved me today,” said Coffin, who shot an 83 at Kebo after an 82 at PVCC. “I had only 12 putts on the back nine.”

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