BRUNSWICK — When it was over, after he picked his ball out of the cup on the final hole of the 98th Maine Amateur golf tournament, Jack Wyman gave a shrug of his shoulders and a half-smile, as if he didn’t know what to do.

Then his father, Terry, came over and hugged him.

And the applause began.

Wyman, a 26-year-old from South Freeport who plays out of Portland Country Club, birdied the first three holes Thursday morning and held off a charge by Sam Grindle to win his first Maine Amateur title.

Wyman shot a 2-over 74 to finish with a three-day total of 5-under 211, two strokes better than Grindle, the first-day leader who shot the only under-par round on Thursday with a 1-under 71.

“This couldn’t be any better,” said Terry Wyman, who caddied for his son. “It’s a very happy day.”

It culminated with Wyman cradling the crystal vase given to the champion and posing for photos in the rain, which started falling with six holes remaining and certainly was a factor.

“This means a lot,” said Wyman, who played at Falmouth High and Endicott College. “It’s cool that the Maine State Golf Association has this fraternity of guys out here, everyone supporting each other. It’s cool to hold this trophy.”

Cole Anderson, a 16-year-old who will be a junior at Camden Hills High, finished third at 214 after an even-par 72.

As they have in every round, the golfers played the back nine at first, allowing them to finish on the ninth hole, which ends at the clubhouse.

Wyman entered the day with a three-stroke advantage over Joe Alvarez and quickly set the tone with birdies on the first three holes. That pushed his lead to six strokes over Alvarez and eight over Grindle. But Alvarez and Grindle weren’t going away.

“He was playing well and was going to be tough to catch no matter what,” said Alvarez, a 37-year-old from North Berwick who plays out of Webhannet. “But we weren’t going to be fazed that early in the round.”

In fact, Wyman expected a challenge, especially from Grindle, a 22-year-old from Deer Isle who will be a senior at Rollins College.

“Sam and I have battled forever, so I knew what I was coming into,” said Wyman. “He’s a grinder, doesn’t quit. He’s going to make birdies.”

And he did. Grindle birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to pull within four strokes.

Wyman, meanwhile, was trying to avoid disastrous mistakes.

“I was being aggressive (on the first three holes), after that I kind of let my foot off the gas a little bit,” he said. “Then it started getting tough out there so my game plan changed. I knew I was going to have to grind it out. My putts weren’t falling today like they were yesterday, so I knew I had to be patient and hope for the best.”

When Grindle birdied both par-5s on the front nine (Nos. 2 and 3), he was within two strokes and had the momentum. Alvarez, meanwhile, carded an 8 on No. 3 and knew then “there was no catching him for me.” He shot a 7-over 79 and tied for ninth place at 219,

But Grindle had a shot. Then the group approached the par-3 fourth hole.

Grindle hit his tee shot onto a steep bank and it rolled into the water. Seeing this, Wyman switched his club choice “from the hybrid to the 4-iron, just to put something in play.” He parred the hole. Grindle took a drop, hit a remarkable third shot to within six feet of the pin and made the putt for a bogey to stay in it, just three strokes back.

But, Grindle said, “Then the rain started coming down and it got quite hard from there … But Jack played well, hats off to him. I gave him a run and he responded.”

Grindle bogeyed the par-4 sixth and Wyman parred it for a four-stroke lead. With the rain coming down hard, Wyman knew he was going to be all right.

“I knew that with the rain, it was going to be hard for people to tear the place up,” he said. “No one likes to play in the rain, but it definitely worked to my advantage.”

Wyman got too conservative on the final hole and ended up with a double-bogey, but still clinched the title – and a hug from his father.

“It’s special to have him there,” said Wyman. “I kind of feel bad sometimes. I always look for someone to blame out there if it’s not myself, so he gets the brunt of a lot of bad things going on. I try my best and he tries his best. We make it work out there.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH