FALMOUTH – Scott Spence survived the New England PGA Championship on little sleep, shortened play and a torrential downpour.

Yet in the end, he waited to find out if he in fact was the tournament champion.

Spence needed nine strokes to complete his final three holes for a 69 Thursday morning at The Woodlands Club. That made him the early tournament leader, and he headed to the clubhouse patio to wait as the remainder of the 122-player field completed the round.

A few hours later when the final scores came in, Spence secured the tournament title with a two-round total of 3-under-par 139.

Spence finished two strokes ahead of Jeffrey Martin (68-73–141) and three strokes ahead of Jeff Seavey (72-70–142) and Ron Philo (65-77–142).

“The tougher holes, I focused harder,” Spence, whose 69 was the lowest score in the final round, said. “I knew I had to finish at 3 under, so I was very patient in how I played. But waiting, that’s the hard part.”

The championship was played on two courses — The Woodlands and Portland Country Club. It was scheduled for 54 holes over three days, but heavy rains Wednesday forced officials to suspend the second round and subsequently cut the tournament to 36 holes, with the suspended round to be finished Thursday.

Spence completed 15 holes before play was suspended Wednesday, so he and several other golfers needed to play only a few holes to finish the tournament.

But Spence worked on areas he thought he needed to improve. He spent Wednesday night chipping and putting in his hotel room and woke up at 3 a.m. Thursday, unable to get back to sleep.

When he returned to The Woodlands in the morning, he played his most challenging holes.

“You’re nervous but you’ve done this 100,000 times before,” said Spence, a teaching pro at The Carnegie Abbey Club in Portsmouth, R.I.

“I just kept telling myself, ‘You’re a good player. You’ve done this before.’

“You draw on your experience and your positives. I was going through a routine and visualizing what I had to do, and I trusted myself.”

Spence earned $12,000 and a berth in the PGA Professional Championships June 26-29, 2011, at the Hershey (Pa.) Country Club.

Sixteen golfers, including five alternates, qualified from the New England region. Martin, a 1992 Portland High graduate; Philo; and Troy Pare and Frank Dully were among the qualifiers. Pare and Dully tied for fifth at 1-over 143.

Philo earned a five-year exemption to the national tournament by winning the event in 2006.

Pare earned an exemption after finishing fifth at last year’s national tournament.

Seavey, a teaching pro at Rockport’s Samoset Resort and the winner of the New England PGA State of Maine Championship in July, also qualified.

“It’s my fourth or fifth national tournament, and it’s like playing in a PGA tournament,” said Seavey. “That’s the pinnacle of the national club pro championships.

“They treat us like tour guys, and it’s a thrill to go and compete there.”

Seavey entered Wednesday tied for 19th place but moved up on the leaderboard by finishing 14 holes before play was suspended while he was on the 15th fairway.

Thursday, he joined George Goich and John Hickson to complete the final three holes.

“The key to the rain is to stay patient,” said Seavey, who also said that at his home course, he typically has to play through high winds.

“I’d prefer this weather. It makes the field a lot closer. When it rains, you can separate yourself.

“Bad weather can help. It’s not enjoyable to play in, but it’s enjoyable to pull off a round like that.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be contacted at 791-6415 or at:

[email protected]


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