Fans watch Brett Stegmaier and Anders Albertson at the 18th hole during the final round of the Live and Work in Maine Open at Falmouth Country Club on Sunday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

FALMOUTH — Moments after Chad Ramey had won his first professional golf tournament on Sunday, one of the hundreds of fans behind the 18th green bellowed, “Welcome to Maine.”

Indeed. Welcome back to Maine, professional golf.

For the first time since 1993 a PGA Tour-sanctioned event was held in Vacationland. The inaugural Live and Work in Maine Open at Falmouth Country Club seemed to meet up to expectations for the Korn Ferry Tour golfers, the fans and, for the most part, tournament officials.

That was certainly the case for Ramey, who won by one shot with a four-round score of 16-under par. The 28-year-old soft-spoken pro from Fulton, Mississippi, shared his first trip to Maine with his dad, Stanley, as his caddie and his mom, Trish, and fiancée, Kelly Nolan, following on the course.

“I’ve been looking forward to here ever since we were supposed to come here a year ago,” Ramey said. “I knew the weather was going to be nice. I love seafood. I’ve been looking forward to coming her for a while.”

The Live and Work in Maine Open was scheduled to debut in 2020, but was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. It will return to Falmouth Country Club for the next four years as part of an agreement among the golf course, Portland-based Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, and the PGA Tour. The Korn Ferry Tour is the top developmental arm of the PGA Tour.


For professional golfer Spencer Levin, the Live and Work in Maine Open was the 333rd PGA-sanctioned event in a career dating back to 2005.

“How does this week stack up to the other weeks? I’d say it’s great,” Levin said. “You’ve got fans. The course is great. People seem to like it. I like it.”

Englishman Steve Lewton, a 38-year-old rookie on the Korn Ferry Tour, posted his best career finish over the weekend, tying for third.

“The crowd has been great,” he said of the tournament. “The volunteers have come out and helped and supported. There’s more people here than I imagined, actually. I thought it was a really good turnout.”

Chad Ramey, the winner of the Live and Work in Maine Open, autographs golf balls and hats for children on Sunday at Falmouth Country Club. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

That type of feedback is helpful to Brian Corcoran, the pro bono tournament director and CEO of Shamrock Sports.

“I want to know their experience firsthand,” Corcoran said. “Because if we pay the bills and fans had a good time and they hated being here, then what do we have? It’s been priceless to hear them say this is one of the very best on the Korn Ferry Tour.”


All PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour events are required to donate all net proceeds to charity. On the Korn Ferry Tour the standard is a $100,000 donation. The Live and Work in Maine Open’s gift to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, presented Sunday night, was $108,000.

Overall attendance failed to meet Corcoran’s expectations of drawing 2,000 fans per day. The attendance figures were 1,200 on Thursday, 1,450 on Friday, and 1,700 on Saturday, before reaching 2,000 on Sunday.

“I thought we’d average closer to 2,000 each day, but we were close to that and the good news is that we’re still paying the bills and writing a check to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital despite not truly reaching our full potential,” Corcoran said.

Fans watch golfers at the 18th hole during the final round of the Korn Ferry Tour’s Live and Work in Maine Open on Sunday at Falmouth Country Club. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Fans who did come relished the opportunity to watch top-level pros, many of whom have already played on the PGA Tour and all of them striving to reach golf’s highest professional circuit. Seventeen of the pro golfers shot 10-under par or better during the four-day tournament.

“They’re just really good. I like watching their consistency,” said Dave Gushee, 30, a Falmouth Country Club member from Gorham who played college golf at Siena.

Gushee’s friend P.J. Rose of Cumberland said he enjoyed learning about the players’ backstories.


“Some of these guys are super blue-collar guys, just working hard on their game and then you have the supernovas, guys like (PGA stars) Bryson DeChambeau and Tony Finau who were on this tour three, four years ago,” Rose said.

Rose, who also attended Saturday’s third round with his father, said he also enjoyed seeing how the event was made family-friendly with activities designed for children. He said PGA Tour suggestions for course improvements will benefit the club’s members.

“Seeing how the course has changed and how quickly they got things done, I need to give a 100 percent shout-out to the (golf course) superintendent and the maintenance crew and the pro shop. The improvements trickle down to benefit the members,” Rose said.

Since the golfers’ primary goal is to play well enough on the Korn Ferry Tour to advance to the PGA Tour, most stopped short of saying they wanted to return next year. But they said they enjoyed the week, scarfing down lobster after playing a course that was in tip-top shape.

““It’s been outstanding. Everything from the food inside to the golf course. It’ a great golf course,” said Ben Kohles, one player who likely won’t be back next year because he’s well within the top 25 in the Korn Ferry Tour standings. If he stays in the top 25, he’ll earn a card to compete on the PGA Tour next year.

Corcoran said he is already looking forward to the 2022 tournament, which will be held June 23-26.

“Running up to this tournament we were still somewhat in a COVID cloud that we’re coming out of. There’s so much more we can do,” Corcoran said.

That includes using host families for the golfers, increasing attendance, shifting the food menu to include a few more kid-friendly options. Corcoran also has been dreaming about creating an iconic stadium-style seating area around one of Falmouth’s par 3s to create a signature look for the tournament.

“I know the door hasn’t closed yet for this year, but as we reflect back, I just can’t wait for next year,” Corcoran said.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: