Saturday, March 8, 2014
MANCHESTER -- It's been a pretty good summer for Evan Harmeling.
WINNER: Evan Harmeling chips onto a green on the back nine during the Charlie’s Maine Open on Tuesday at Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Harmeling shot a two-day total of 133 to win.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
WATCHFUL EYE: Justin Speirs Jr. watches from the cart as his uncle Jesse Speirs drives off the fairway on the back nine during the Charlie’s Maine Open Championship on Tuesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Speirs tied for second with a six under par two day total of 134.
Staff photo by Joe Phelan
The Andover, Mass., pro won the Massachusetts Open last month, and a day after turning 25, he won the Maine Open on Tuesday at the Augusta Country Club.
Harmeling birdied his final two holes to shoot a 7-under par 133 for the two-day tournament and edge Bangor native Jesse Speirs and former winner Geoff Sisk, who tied for second place at 134.
Harmeling won $10,000 for his first-place finish and as yet has no plans for his winnings. After winning the Mass Open he donated his $15,000 winner's check to One Fund Boston, the relief fund for the marathon bombing victims.
Harmeling shot two-under par 34 on the front Tuesday but quickly gave a couple of strokes back with bogeys on 10 and 11.
"I probably shouldn't have hit driver on 10," he said. "It was my first driver of the day. And on 11, I hit a bad shot coming in. I just didn't think about the wind."
From there he birdied four of his last seven holes. He birdied the long par 4 13th hole with a 12-foot uphill putt. He birdied the par 3 15th and watched playing partner Nick Antonelli of Atkinson, N.H. pull into a tie with him at 5-under par.
"I didn't know where the leaders were," Harmeling said. "But when Nick made that, I needed to make mine to stay ahead of him. I had a down-hiller. I didn't want to get too defensive on that. It was good to see him go in."
Harmeling hit the back of the green on the 540-yard par 5 18th and lagged a 25-foot eagle attempt to within inches of the hole for a tap-in birdie and the win. A few minutes earlier, both Sisk and Speirs birdied the hole to take a share of the lead at 6-under. Sisk, a pro from Marshfield, Mass., who won the Maine Open in 1996, shot 67-67 -- 134. He shot 5-under 30 on the back with five birdies.
Speirs, who lives in Memphis, Tenn., made a return trip to Maine to play the Greater Bangor and Maine opens. He shot 4-under 66 on Tuesday without a bogey.
"I made four bogeys on the front nine (Monday)," Speirs said. "After that I didn't make a bogey. I played pretty good, I can't complain."
The 18th proved the easier hole of the tournament, yielding 79 birdies and two eagles, but Speirs had his work cut out for him after driving into the rough on the right side of the fairway. He hit a 4-iron along the tree line to the back of the green into more deep rough where he pitched out and two-putted for his birdie.
"That was good," he said. "I've been working on some good stuff and it's starting to come around."
Antonelli finished alone in fourth place at 135 while Ted Brown of Glen Allen, Va., Jeb Buchanan of Loudonville, N.Y. and Jon McLean of Weston, Fla.. and first-round leader Mack Duke shot 65-73 to finish in a tie for 13th place.
Augusta Country Club member Thomas Bean was low amateur at 138, edging Minot's Andrew Slattery by a stroke and ACC member Jason Gall at 140. Windham's Shawn Warren was low Maine pro at 140 followed by Topsham's John Hickson at 141 and Samoset's Jeff Seavey at 141.
One hundred twenty pros and 36 amateurs competed in the tournament which featured a total purse of $51,000.
Gary Hawkins -- 621-5638