June 25, 2018
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Pennsylvania golfer takes Maine Open title with a scorching 62

By Kalle Oakes, Sun Journal

MANCHESTER, Maine — The check with Andrew Mason’s name on it won’t be missing any zeroes. The crystal vase Mason cradled underneath his right arm still looked splendid with the twilight rays shimmering off it.

Also, shooting a scorching 62 to win the Charlie’s Maine Open at Augusta Country Club is sensational under any circumstances. So the 25-year-old champion from Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, was empathetic but hardly apologetic after racing off with a rain-shortened title.

“There’s not much I can really do about it. I felt a little bad, but that stuff happens and it’s kind of out of my control,” Mason said. “While I think things could have changed tomorrow, I like to think I could have played well tomorrow also. I just think I’m lucky to be in the position I’m in.”

Mason bagged five birdies on the back nine for a two-shot victory over Mark Purrington of Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

A graduate of Temple University whose previous career highlights include the 2013 Pennsylvania Open title and two victories in his home state amateur, Mason won $10,000.

With the tournament abbreviated to 18 holes because of Monday’s rains, and that day’s tee times holding true, spectators didn’t presume to have the luxury of following the last two groups of the day to track the likely champion.

Yet, lo and behold, both the winner and the runner-up emerged from the final two tee times. Mason finished on the traditional back nine, while Purrington wrapped up on the front. Together, they broke through a four-way tie at 65 that had Eric Egloff, Joe Toland, Bryan Bigley and Jeb Buchanan waiting around for a playoff.

Mason made his move with consecutive birdies on 10, 11 and 12 to go 6-under.

“I hit it pretty close on all three, maybe 3 feet on each,” Mason said. “I had checked in [about the scores] on 10, so I kind of had an idea that I was in the lead, but not by a great amount.”

Purrington pulled even at around the same time with back-to-back birdies on 3 and 4.

Before that, Purrington overcame an early bogey at 12 (his third hole) by sinking a 40-yard chip for eagle at 13.

“I had a nice drive, hit a wedge by the pin, and it came back and went in,” Purrington said. “After that I just played pretty steady and then grinded and scrambled a little toward the end.”

Purrington put together his own streak of three birdies at 16, 17 and 18 before making the turn.

His undoing was the par-5 fifth hole, where he hit his second shot shy of the mark with a 3-wood, chipped past the pin, then missed the comebacker for birdie.

“I hit a good putt, hit it online and it didn’t go in,” Purrington said. “That hurt a little bit.”

It began a run of five consecutive pars to the finish for Purrington, including a tough up-and-down after he hit his drive sharply left and under a tree at 8.

By that time, Mason notched another birdie at 16 and knew that one more at 18 would leave him with nothing worse than a playoff.

After hitting a 4-iron from 225 yards to within 10 feet, Mason just missed his putt for eagle before tapping in for the trophy.

“I did what I needed to do under pressure, I think,” he said.

Mike Van Sickle was on the fringe at 18 Monday with a chip for eagle and a possible 59 before the severe weather siren sounded. Van Sickle didn’t get to finish his round, and like everyone else’s, it was washed away.

Mason never teed off Monday.

“I’m sure Mike isn’t happy, but I’m not complaining,” Mason said. “With how wet it was, anything could win. Five-under is a really good score. 62’s a good score obviously, and if we played tomorrow it could be anything in between or lower.”

Egloff of Sandy Spring, Maryland, Toland of Hartford, Vermont, Bigley of Schenectady, New York, and Buchanan of Loudonville, New York, shot matching scores of 65 — Egloff and Toland in the morning, Bigley and Buchanan in the afternoon — before playing the game of hurry up and wait.

Egloff, 49, was in the second group to tee off on the 10th hole at 7:40 a.m., leaving him with a potential seven-hour wait to find out if he would be in a sudden-death playoff.

“I hope somebody shoots 64 really quick,” quipped Egloff, whose hotel was 75 miles away in Bangor.


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