BATH – Mary Brandes stood in the shade under the clubhouse porch after a long, hot, frustrating day at Bath Country Club and simply said: “The best player won today. I don’t think anyone will argue that.”

Not on this day.

Kristin Kannegieser won her second Women’s Maine State Golf Association championship Wednesday afternoon, shooting a 6-over-par 76 in the final round to hold off a hard charge by Debby Gardner. Kannegieser’s three-round total was 227, four strokes better than Gardner, who trailed by just two strokes with three holes to go.

Brandes, who led after the first day, finished third at 235 after an 82 in the third round.

“I’m just happy to hold on,” said Kannegieser, who lives in Minot and plays out of Martindale Country Club. “I never thought I’d win this once. To win it twice I’m thrilled. To win it twice is very special.”

She praised the play of Gardner, who trailed by five strokes entering the third round.

“She played beautifully,” said Kannegieser, who won the state championship in 2007. “And that wasn’t surprising. She wasn’t a professional golfer for nothing. She has all the shots.

“I didn’t feel like I was giving it away. She was taking it.”

Gardner, who lives in Belgrade and plays out of both Waterville Country Club and Belgrade Lakes, still trailed by five strokes entering the back nine. And after she missed a 10-inch birdie putt on 10, Gardner figured “that was it. I tried to keep putting pressure on Kristin and hope she would fall back to me.”

But Kannegieser was consistent, so it was up to Gardner to get back in it. A birdie on the par-4 12th brought her within four. When Kannegieser double-bogeyed the 14th, Gardner cut another stroke off the deficit with a bogey.

Then on 15, Gardner sank a tough putt for a birdie, forcing Kannegieser to make what she considered her biggest shot.

“She made that birdie and I’m sitting there looking at a 4-foot bending putt,” said Kannegieser. “If I don’t make that, I’m only one up and that’s a totally different ballgame. I felt that was what I had to do.”

She did, sinking the putt and then matching pars with Gardner on 16 and 17, Gardner saving a chance at par with a brilliant fourth shot that left her 3 feet from the pin.

But Gardner’s second shot on 18 went into the sand trap on the right. Then she three-putted for a double bogey.

“It’s unfortunate because that’s not the way she played all day,” said Kannegieser.

“We gave it our all,” said Gardner. “I knew I had to be under par to have any chance. I had a couple of mishaps. Kristin is a wonderful competitor and deserves everything she gets.”

Brandes, who lives in Falmouth and plays out of The Woodlands, struggled all day, starting with a bogey, double bogey, bogey. That dropped her six strokes back and she was unable to recover.

“I had some good shots on the day,” said Brandes. “I’m kind of a streaky golfer and I can put a string of good holes together. But I have trouble putting three days (together). I had a good low round, and then doing two more is tough for me.”

The win was special for Kannegieser in that she shared it with her family.

“Everyone was here,” she said. “I could feel their energy and I needed it. I’m just thrilled I was able to play solid with all of them here, too.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]