MANCHESTER – Mark Plummer’s 30-foot putt on the 16th hole would have been the shot of the day Thursday, had Joe Alvarez not made it moot moments later in the inaugural MSGA match play championship.

Down three with three holes to play, Plummer’s long putt was a last-ditch chance to keep the championship match going. Alvarez, however, had no intentions of letting Plummer sneak back into the match. Not on Plummer’s home Augusta Country Club course.

With Plummer’s long putt still on the minds of the roughly two dozen spectators, Alvarez calmly sank his 6-foot putt to seal his 3 and 2 win.

“I had a pretty good feeling he was going to make that (putt),” Alvarez, of Hampden, said. “I had to make mine. … He knows this place better than anyone. You know you’ve got to play well. Plus, when you play Mark here, there’s a lot of people following, which makes it kind of fun.”

Added Plummer: “I thought he might miss a putt, but he didn’t miss one all day.”

The putt on 16 capped a strong four rounds of golf for Alvarez, who beat a pair of former Maine Amateur winners – Plummer and Ricky Jones – to win his first match play title. Alvarez never trailed in the tournament.

“It was a strong field,” said Alvarez, who beat Augusta member Jason Gall in the semis earlier in the day, 3 and 2. “To win this is pretty good.”

It was Alvarez who approached the Maine State Golf Association over the winter and proposed adding the match play tournament. The tournament featured the top eight finishers from last month’s Maine Amateur (Alvarez tied for fifth place at Kebo Valley), plus the top players on the MSGA points list.

In Thursday’s final, Alvarez took control on the eighth hole, where he went 1 up to earn the lead for good. On the ninth hole, Alvarez rallied after a bad wedge shot to sink a putt for par and push his lead to 2 up heading to the back nine.

“I hit a horrible wedge shot, and came back and got the up and down,” Alvarez said. “I was just waiting for Mark to make a move.”

Wednesday’s marathon matches seemed to get to Plummer in the finals.

The 13-time Maine Amateur winner needed 40 holes to win his first two matches on Wednesday, and on Thursday morning, he eked out a 2 and 1 win over Madison’s Seth Sweet in the semifinals.

“I putted poorly. Putts that were going in the first three rounds weren’t going in today,” Plummer said.

Alvarez won the 13th hole to push his lead to 3 up. When he sank his birdie putt to match Plummer and end the round after 16 holes, Alvarez thought one thing: “I was glad to have it over,” Alvarez said. “It was a hot, long two days.”


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