FALMOUTH – Shawn Warren of Windham led the Charlie’s Maine Open for most of the final round Wednesday before discovering firsthand how cruel golf can be.

Warren, the first-round co-leader, had a two-shot lead as he stood on the 18th tee at Falmouth Country Club. A few minutes later, after a circuitous route to the green and three putts, he took a double bogey and was facing a three-way playoff.

The playoff went about as well as the last hole of regulation for Warren.

Michael Carbone of Brewster, Mass., parred the first hole of the playoff to beat Warren and John Hickson of Topsham and win the 93rd Maine Open.

Afterward, Carbone tempered his excitement about his second New England state open title with sincere condolences for Warren.

“I feel bad for him,” said Carbone. “He’s a great kid. We played together at the Rhode Island Open in 2009 and he complimented me every time I hit a good shot.

“Obviously, I’m ecstatic I won, but you never want to win by someone else’s mistakes. Shawn was playing at a course where he works and the gallery was behind him.

“I had a similar thing happen to me at the Cape Cod Open, where I’m from. I had the lead until someone shot a 65 and beat me.”

The co-leaders tied at 6-under 138 after 36 holes. Warren opened with a 66 and closed with an even-par 72. Carbone had rounds of 69-69 and Hickson went 70-68.

“I played 35 good holes and one bad hole and it cost me,” said Warren.

“It was mentally tough to be in the playoff. I’ll take the things I did well away from this tournament.”

Carbone earned $9,000 for the win. Warren and Hickson each collected $5,750. Jason Caron of Greenwich, Conn., finished fourth and won $3,000. Jeffrey Castle of Nottingham, Md. earned $2,000 for fifth place.

Jason Gall of Augusta was low amateur at 71-74–145.

Carbone, playing in the next-to-last group ahead of Warren, closed to within one stroke of the leader after a birdie on the par-5 17th. It was Carbone’s third straight birdie and moved him to 7 under for the tournament.

“I knew Shawn was at 8 under,” said Carbone.

But Carbone bogeyed the 18th, a 435-yard par 4, to make it a two-shot deficit. He hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker, played out to the fairway on his second shot and knocked his third shot onto the green before two-putting.

After signing his scorecard, he watched Warren play the 18th.

Using a 3-wood off the tee, Warren hit his drive into the long grass just outside the water hazard stake in front of a pond that guards the 18th green, but his ball was sitting up in the wispy grass. He went for the green with his second shot and shanked it, just clearing the pond and settling on the grass in front of the clubhouse.

“The grass just grabbed my club and left the face wide open,” Warren said.

He then hit a wedge to 20 feet above the pin.

“It was one of the best shots I hit all day,” said Warren. “I was proud I was able to execute it.”

Needing two putts to win, Warren knocked his first one 5 feet past, then missed the second before tapping in for a six.

“My jaw dropped when he missed the second putt,” said Carbone. “I knew he hit the first putt a little harder than he wanted. I just figured he would make the next one.”

“I just couldn’t get myself to tap the ball to get it close,” Warren said.

“If I could have done it again, I still would have hit the 3-wood off the tee. I wanted to hit a draw, but the wind took it to the right.”

All three hit average tee shots on the first playoff hole, a dogleg par-4 of 357 yards. Warren and Hickson were in the right rough and Carbone hit his tee shot just far enough down the left side to have a shot to the green.

Warren pulled his second shot into the bunker.

“I wanted to make something happen. I wanted to be aggressive because I felt I needed to birdie the hole,” said Warren.

Hickson’s shot appeared headed into the same bunker but bounced onto the green, finishing above the hole. Carbone had the best shot, stopping 12 feet below the hole.

Warren hit a nice bunker shot to 5 feet. Hickson putted first from 15 feet and left it 4 feet short. Carbone two-putted for the par.

Warren needed to make his putt to stay alive, but it didn’t break as he thought it would. Hickson’s par attempt never had a chance, missing on the low side.

“I was thinking about the club I would hit on the next playoff hole, a par 3,” said Carbone. “Shawn made a great bunker shot and I thought he would make the putt, as I thought John would, too.”

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

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