August 8, 2013

Kannegieser gets Maine Junior win after years of dreaming

Will Kannegieser has wanted to be the Maine Junior champ since age 10 and now he is.

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

CUMBERLAND - Will Kannegieser of Minot didn't know how he stood with the other contenders as he lined up a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.

click image to enlarge

Will Kannegieser of Minot gets as low as possible Wednesday to study a putt as Drew Powell of Bangor marks his ball during the Maine Junior golf tournament.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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George Doolan of Freeport, who finished fifth in the Maine Junior, hits out of the rough Wednesday during the final round at Val Halla.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

JUNIOR AMATEUR CHAMPS

Boys' 15-17

Will Kannegieser 73-75--148

Boys' 13-14

Eric Dugas 80-75--155

Girls' 15-17

Jenna Hallett 86-80--166

Girls' 13-14

Bailey Plourde 82-90--172

12 and under

Thomas Higgins 39-42--81

In hindsight, Kannegieser said it was good he didn't know.

"Ignorance is bliss," said the Gould Academy junior.

Kannegieser sank the putt for the birdie that gave him the Maine Junior golf championship by a shot Wednesday at Val Halla Golf Course.

"This is the one I wanted," he said. "I started playing in this tournament when I was 10. It's been my dream to win it."

Kannegieser won in the 15-17 age division.

Kannegieser was tied for the lead after the first round Tuesday with a 73. He shot a final- round 75 for a 148 total.

That edged Luke Ruffing of Manchester, who went 74-75-149. Joe Lesniak of Falmouth was third at 150, followed by Seward Matel of Round Pound at 152 and George Doolan of Freeport at 153.

Playing in the final group with first round co-leader Doolan and Drew Powell of Bangor, Kannegieser didn't know he won until he saw Ruffing's score.

"I knew what I had shot so seeing Luke had shot a 75, it was relieving. I figured he had shot a 74 and we would be headed for a playoff," said Kannegieser.

Ruffing, playing a group ahead, opened with a 74 on Tuesday.

On the par-5 18th, Kannegieser was just over the green on his second shot.

"I figured it was better to be a little long than short, so I hit a 3-wood instead of my hybrid," he said.

Kannegieser then gauged his third shot near perfectly. His high chip landed softly to set up his winning birdie.

"It was one of the best shots I hit in two days. It was better that I didn't know how I stood because I didn't back off my putt. If I had known where I stood, I don't think I would have made the birdies coming in," he said.

Kannegieser called his round "a struggle." For the second day he started his round with a bogey and a double. Even though he made the cut in last month's Maine Amateur, Kannegieser said he hadn't been playing and practicing a lot.

"I was missing shots I don't normally miss," he said.

How was he able to keep it together?

"I tried not to get down on myself," he said. "And I made some putts. All three of us in the last group had chances. I would say I grounded it out the best. I made the shots when I had to."

Ruffing was frustrated, having come so close again. In the last two Class B state individual schoolboy championships, he finished second.

Ruffing hit a wrong ball on the par-3 11th and took a double bogey. On 18, he was over the green in two, chipped up and missed a 6-footer for birdie.

Kannegieser didn't have much time to savor his win. Less than an hour later he was being picked up by his Gould Academy ski coach for a trip to New York, where the ski team will leave Thursday on a trip to Chile.

"I'm already packed," said Kannegieser.

TOURNEY NOTES: As per custom, the seven-member Maine team to play in the New England Juniors was announced. Team members are Reese McFarlane of Cape Elizabeth, Ruffing, Lesniak, Matel, Powell, Gavin Dugas of Pittsfield and Brett Braasch of Arundel. The tournament is Aug. 15-16 at Connecticut National Country Club.

Kannegieser will be in Chile, so he won't play.

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

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

 

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