After shooting a seven-over-par 79 at the Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono on Saturday, defending Paul Bunyan Amateur Golf Tournament champion Ricky Jones of Thomaston said he figured he would have to shoot a 68 or 69 at the Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor on Sunday to have any kind of chance to win.
So after he shot a two-over-par 72, which turned out to be the best round of the day, he hopped in his car and drove home.
He had to catch a 6:10 a.m. flight the next day from Portland to South Carolina for a business trip. He is an accountant for Dragon Products Co. in Thomaston, a cement and concrete company.
While sitting at home with his wife and two children, he received a phone call informing him that his two-round total of 151 tied him for the lead, and there would be a playoff involving himself, Lance Bernier, Sam Grindle and Jack Wyman.
But it is 89 miles from Thomaston to Bar Harbor, and it takes about two hours by car. And darkness was approaching.
So the decision was made to conduct the playoff without him.
Deer Isle’s Sam Grindle beat Falmouth native Wyman on the fourth extra hole.
Jones, who has won the prestigious tournament five times over the last 13 years, said he wanted to “rush back” initially.
But after he thought about it, he said he had mixed feelings.
“I was half and half. I wanted to do it, but I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to spend time with my family before my trip,” explained Jones. “I’m sure the other guys didn’t want to wait for me. I understood. I didn’t play that well. I didn’t deserve to win it.”
Because of his 79 on Saturday, Jones’ starting time was moved up to 10:40 a.m., which was two hours earlier than the final group.
“I didn’t really look at scores after the first day. I knew I was eight shots back,” said Jones. “If I had played better on Saturday, I would have been in a later group on Sunday [and might have stayed around].”
As Jones was driving home, his friend Jon Hardy texted him that he was the leader in the clubhouse, and there were 12 golfers left on the course.
“I figured someone would beat 151. Kebo was reasonable, and the greens were really nice,” said Jones.
“I usually stay around and have a few beers and talk to people,” Jones said. “But I had the early flight, and I wanted to see my family, so I skipped the beers and went straight home.”
Bill Robinson, Drew Powell and 2012 champ Casey Catell of Bangor finished one shot back at 152.
Mike St. Thomas won the B flight with a 157. That was four shots better than Glenn Amico and five better than Pat Laroche. In the C flight, Charlie Butts fired a 159 to win it by seven shots over Timothy Roach and eight over Mer Doucette. In the D flight, Stan Commeau’s 173 captured the class. Bruce Pelletier had a 177 and Joel Greatorex shot a 178.
Portage Lake native and former University of Maine basketball star Liz Coffin captured the women’s title with a 165. Heidi Haylock had a 174 and Melissa Johnson and defending champ Stephanie Babin tied for third at 183. There were eight women in the field.