Jason Millard Wins Charlie's Maine Open in Playoff
MANCHESTER, ME -- On a day where the weather looked like it was going to make all of the headlines, it was the play of the field that stole the show late in the day at the 101st Charlie’s Maine Open. As the pending forecast of heavy rains and threatening storms never quite materialized over Augusta CC, four players finished at 132 (-8) after 36 holes, requiring a playoff to determine who would take down the championship. In the end Jason Millard of Murfreesboro, TN prevailed on the 4th playoff hole to claim his first Maine Open title.
Playing a full hour ahead of the final pairing, Maine’s own Shawn Warren torched Augusta CC with the round of the championship by two strokes, carding a bogey-free 62 (-8). Warren made eight birdies against no bogeys on his day, shooting four under par on each side to post the early clubhouse lead.
Overnight leader Jason Thresher of West Suffield, CT got off to a slow start after opening the tournament with a 64 on day one. He came out flat on his first nine on Wednesday, shooting one over on the outward side. He got some momentum back on Augusta’s back, birdieing 13, 14, and 16. Needing birdie on the last to win outright, he failed to get up and down from the front bunker and settled for par, joining Warren at 132.
Playing alongside Thresher were Millard and two-time champion Matt Campbell. Millard had the opposite round of Thresher, going out in 32 on the front. After all pars and one bogey on the short 12th hole on the back nine, he made a clutch up and down on 18 for birdie to post 67 and also card 132.
Campbell, who won this event in 2015 and 2018, played Augusta’s second nine in the same fashion he has in each of his previous victories at the Maine Open. Trailing by three with five to play, he birdied 14, 17, and 18 to shoot 67 and join the group of four in the forthcoming playoff.
The four headed to Augusta’s first hole for the playoff and all players hit their balls in play except Warren, who found the left trees. Millard played first into the elevated green and hit his shot to one inch and applied the pressure with an imminent birdie. Campbell answered with a shot of his own to two feet to set up a likely three.
Warren found the front bunker with his second shot and was unable to hole the difficult bunker shot. Thresher hit a solid approach to eight feet but failed to convert, leaving Millard and Campbell with simple birdie putts to extend the playoff as the only two remaining.
Both players made pedestrian pars on the 2nd playoff hole and went to the 3rd where they again exchanged pars. Returning to Augusta’s 1st hole for the fourth playoff hole, Millard again hit a solid wedge from close to his divot on the first hole, this time hitting it to four feet. Campbell came up short of the green and hit a chip that scared the hole but stayed on the lip.
As the rain continued to pick up in its intensity, the stage was set for Millard, who converted the birdie and gave a subdued fist pump as he captured the title in dramatic fashion.
Despite the playoff loss, Warren finished as the low Maine Chapter professional in this year’s championship.
The battle for low amateur was a tight contest as well, as Joe Alvarez, Jason Gall, and Ricky Jones all finished the event at 140 (E). Lastly, this year saw women play in the event for the first time, and while only two amateurs registered, it came down to the last hole to decide the winner. Rachel Smith of Cumberland edged Ruby Haylock of Hartford by one stroke with a score of 158.
Also in this year's event, Golf & Ski Warehouse pledged $50 for every birdie made by Maine Chapter professionals in the 2019 Charlie's Maine Open. The Maine pros combined for 30 birdies over the two days, meaning that Golf & Ski will donate $1,500 to the MSGA to help provide junior golfers in Maine with golf equipment.