July 31, 2013

Maine Open: Birdie, birdie finish is a winner

Evan Harmeling birdies four of the last seven holes to win the Maine Open by a stroke.

By Gary Hawkins ghawkins@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

MANCHESTER — It's been a pretty good summer for Evan Harmeling.

click image to enlarge

Evan Harmeling chips onto a green on the back nine Tuesday in winning the Maine Open by a stroke.

Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

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Jesse Speirs follows through on a tee shot on the back nine Tuesday in the Maine Open at the Augusta Country Club. Speirs shot a 4-under 66 without a bogey to finish tied for second.

Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Additional Photos Below


2013: Evan Harmeling

2012: Dustin Cone

2011: Michael Carbone

2010: Dustin Cone

2009: Jim Renner

The Andover, Mass., pro won the Massachusetts Open last month, and a day after turning 25, he won the Maine Open on Tuesday at the Augusta Country Club.

Harmeling birdied his final two holes to shoot a 7-under par 133 for the two-day tournament and edge Bangor native Jesse Speirs and former winner Geoff Sisk, who tied for second place at 134.

Harmeling won $10,000 for his first-place finish. After winning the Mass Open he donated his $15,000 winner's check to One Fund Boston, the relief fund for the marathon bombing victims.

Harmeling shot 2-under par 34 on the front Tuesday but quickly gave a couple of strokes back with bogeys on 10 and 11.

"I probably shouldn't have hit driver on 10," he said. "It was my first driver of the day. And on 11, I hit a bad shot coming in. I just didn't think about the wind."

From there he birdied four of his last seven holes. He birdied the long par-4 13th hole with a 12-foot uphill putt. He birdied the par-3 15th and watched playing partner Nick Antonelli of Atkinson, N.H., pull into a tie with him at 5 under.

"I didn't know where the leaders were," Harmeling said. "But when Nick made that, I needed to make mine to stay ahead of him. I had a down-hiller. I didn't want to get too defensive on that. It was good to see him go in."

Harmeling hit the back of the green on the 540-yard par-5 18th and lagged a 25-foot eagle attempt to within inches of the hole for a tap-in birdie and the win. A few minutes earlier, Sisk and Speirs birdied the hole to take a share of the lead at 6 under.

Sisk, a pro from Marshfield, Mass., who won the Maine Open in 1996, shot 67-67 - 134. He shot 5-under 30 on the back with five birdies.

Speirs, who lives in Memphis, Tenn., made a return trip to Maine to play the Greater Bangor and Maine opens. He shot 4-under 66 on Tuesday without a bogey.

"I made four bogeys on the front nine (Monday)," Speirs said. "After that I didn't make a bogey. I played pretty good, I can't complain."

The 18th proved the easier hole of the tournament, yielding 79 birdies and two eagles, but Speirs had his work cut out after driving into the rough on the right side of the fairway. He hit a 4-iron along the tree line to the back of the green into more deep rough where he pitched out and two-putted for his birdie.

"That was good," he said. "I've been working on some good stuff and it's starting to come around."

Antonelli finished alone in fourth place at 135 while Ted Brown of Glen Allen, Va.; Jeb Buchanan of Loudonville, N.Y.; and Jon McLean of Weston, Fla.; and first-round leader Mack Duke shot 65-73 to finish in a tie for 13th place.

Augusta Country Club member Thomas Bean was low amateur at 138, edging Minot's Andrew Slattery by a stroke and ACC member Jason Gall at 140. Windham's Shawn Warren was low Maine pro at 140 followed by Topsham's John Hickson at 141 and Samoset's Jeff Seavey at 141.


Kennebec Journal's Gary Hawkins can be contacted at 621-5638 or at ghawkins@centralmaine.com


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Additional Photos

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Maine Open champ Evan Harmeling lines up a putt on the 18th green Tuesday in the final round. Harmeling birdied the hole to win the two-day tourney and collect a $10,000 check.

Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal


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