Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Tom Chard email@example.com
CUMBERLAND -- Will Kannegieser of Minot didn't know how he stood with the other contenders as he lined up a three-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.
In hindsight, Kannegieser said it was good he didn't know.
"Ignorance is bliss," the Gould Academy junior said.
Kannegieser sank the putt for the birdie which gave him the Maine Junior Golf Championship by a shot Wednesday afternoon at Val Halla Course Course.
"This is the one I wanted," he said. "I started playing in this tournament when I was 10. It's been my dream to win it.."
Kannegieser won in the 15-17 age division.
Kannegieser was tied for the lead after the first round Tuesday with a 73. He shot a final round 75 for a 148 total.
That edged Luke Ruffing of Manchester who went 74-75-149. Joe Lesniak of Falmouth was third at 150, followed by Seward Matel of Round Pound at 152 and George Doolan of Freeport at 153.
Playing in the final group with first round co-leader Doolan and Drew Powell of Bangor, Kannegieser didn't realized he had won until he saw Ruffing's score on the board.
"I knew what I had shot so seeing Luke had shot a 75, it was relieving. I figured he had shot a 74 and we would be headed for a playoff," Kannegieser said.
Ruffing, playing in the group ahead, opened with a 74 on Tuesday.
On the par-5, 18th, Kannegieser was just over the green on his second shot.
"I figured it was better to be a little long than short. So I hit a 3-wood instead of my hybrid," he said.
Kannegieser then gauged his third shot near perfectly. His high chip landed softly to set up his winning birdie.
"It was one of the best shots I hit in two days. It was better that I didn't know how I stood because I didn't back off my putt. If I had known where I stood, I don't think I would have made the birdies coming in," he said.
Kannegieser called his round "a struggle" For the second day, he started his round with a bogey and a double. Even though he made the cut in last month's Maine Amateur at the Augusta Country Club, Kannegieser said he hadn't been playing and practicing a lot coming into the tournament.
"I was missing shots I don't normally miss."
How was he able to keep it together?
"I tried not to get down on myself," he said. "And I made some putts. All three of us in the last group had chances. I would say I grounded it out the best. I made the shots when I had to."
Ruffing was frustrated for having come so close again. In the last two Class B state individual schoolboy championships, he has finished second.
Ruffing hit a wrong ball on the par-3 11th and took a double bogey. On 18, he was over the green in two, chipped up and missed a six-footer for birdie.
Kannegieser didn't have much time to savor his win. Less than a hour later, he was being picked up by his Gould Academy ski coach for a trip to New York City where the ski team will leave Thursday from JFK on a ski trip to Chile.
"I'm already packed," said Kannegieser.
Tourney notes: As per custom, the seven-member Maine team to play in the New England Juniors was announced. Team members are Reese McFarlane of Cape Elizabeth, Ruffing, Lesniak, Matel, Powell, Gavin Dugas of Pittsfield and Brett Braasch of Arundel. The tournament is Aug. 15-16 at Connecticut National Country Club. Kannegieser will be in Chile so he can't play.