PORTLAND – On a day when the wind blew steadily, even par or a few under was a good score.

It was good enough for first-round leader Dustin Cone, who shot a 1-under-par 71 to hold off a handful of golfers and win the Charlie’s Portland/Maine Open by one stroke Wednesday at Riverside Golf Course.

“I didn’t hit the ball great but I hung in there,” said Cone.

It was Cone’s first victory in a state open. His only other wins were in a couple of New England mini-tour events last summer.

“Any time you can win a state open, it’s special,” said Cone. “They’re well-run tournaments.

“They had over 150 players in this tournament. That shows how popular they are.”

Cone, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., finished the two-day, 36-hole tournament at 10-under-par 134 after opening with a 9-under 63 on Tuesday. His final round offered a sharp contrast to his nearly flawless first round.

“The well dried up today,” said Cone. “I figured if I shot under par, I would be all right.

“I made some good par saves. I started to hit the ball more solidly late in the round.”

Cone lost his lead early on the back nine, regained it a few holes later and increased it to two shots when he birdied the par-3 15th.

“That was huge,” he said. “I hadn’t made anything until that hole. The par 3s on this course are very strong holes.

“The wind was blowing when I got to the course. I knew it would be a factor.”

Rob Roylance of Orlando, Fla., and Mark Stevens of Concord, N.H., tied for second at 135. Roylance, a former Old Orchard Beach High golfer, shot a final-round 66, which tied for the day’s best round.

Ricky Jones of Thomaston was low amateur at 142.

Roylance, who played four groups ahead of Cone’s threesome, birdied the last hole to reach 9 under.

“I’m really happy with my performance,” said Roylance. “It’s taken a few years of instruction to get a repeatable swing. I had kind of a funky swing in high school.

“The last three holes are all birdie holes and I was fortunate to birdie 18.”

For most of the round, the only player making a charge was Tim Desmarais of Cape Elizabeth. Desmarais, an assistant pro at Purpoodock Club, was playing in his first tournament as a professional. He joined the Maine Pro Chapter two weeks ago.

Desmarais played the front nine in 2 under and then eagled No. 10 and birdied No. 11 to reach 10 under, one better than Cone, who was a group behind.

Desmarais, had the lead with five holes left when things started to unravel. He settled for a par on the par-5 13th when he missed the green with a 7-iron on his second shot. The ball ended up in a bunker to the right of the green and he took three to get down.

Desmarais hit some wayward shots on the next three holes, making bogey on each. He closed with a 70 and a 137 total.

Despite falling short, Desmarais said he had a lot of fun.

“I had a blast,” he said. “This gives me the confidence to want to go out and play in more tournaments.”

Cone took the lead for good with a par on No. 14 after Desmarais bogeyed 15. Stevens, playing in the final group with Cone, couldn’t overtake him after his birdie on 15.

“I didn’t pay too much attention to what was happening ahead of me because things can change instantly,” said Cone.

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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