Drew Powell follows through on his tee shot on the 7th hole at Fox Ridge Golf Club during Maine State Golf Association’s Match Play Invitational semifinal round Wednesday in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

AUBURN — Drew Powell drained a birdie putt of more than 20 feet on the third hole of a playoff to advance to the final of the Maine State Golf Association’s Match Play Invitational on Wednesday at Fox Ridge Golf Club.

“I got a little lucky because I had that putt earlier against him when we were playing in regulation,” said Powell, a recent Duke graduate who played for the Blue Devils’ golf team. “I sort of knew what was going to happen, it wasn’t going to break as much as I thought and it was relatively slow. I hit a good putt.”

In Thursday’s final, Powell will face Jeff Cole of Brunswick Golf Club, who defeated Joey Alvarez (Biddeford-Saco) in the other semifinal 6 and 5. Cole lost the first hole and was 1-down on the fourth tee, but ended up winning eight of the final 10 holes.

“I had a couple of good breaks, I had a chip-in fall in on (the seventh hole),” Cole said. “That was big, anytime you chip-in in match play it’s big. I just tried to make pars every hole.”

Three birdies on the final three holes of the front nine helped him get a big lead.

The pars came on the back nine with four straight — three to win a hole — with the match ending on the 13th hole.

Cole didn’t realize he was building an insurmountable lead against Alvarez.

“I wasn’t trying to think about it, every hole is a new hole,” Cole said. “I was trying to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid or give a hole away with something unnecessary. I didn’t know at the time I had won that many holes in a row.”

But the drama was in the other semifinal. Desmarais forced a playoff by winning the 18th hole with a par putt. He employed some gamesmanship by calling the referee over to ask if Powell or himself was further away. Powell was further away and he just missed his par putt, which would have won the match.

“If I had to go first, it’s a different story. If he goes first and makes it, (the match is) over and I don’t have to worry about putting,” Desmarais said. “Once he missed, the door is opened and it’s like, ‘OK, laser in and focus.’ I felt comfortable with that putt and made it, which was huge.”

In quarterfinal matches, Alvarez beat Craig Chapman 5 and 4. Powell defeated Armond Ouellette 4 and 3, Desmarais defeated Luke Ruffing 4 and 3 and Cole defeated Ryan Gay 2 and 1.


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