Hayes Wins Mid-Amateur with Birdie on 18th Hole
AUBURN – John Hayes (Purpoodock Club) saved the best swing of the day for the approach shot into the 18th green at the 2019 Mid-Amateur championship at Fox Ridge GC. Coming to the difficult final hole, Hayes shared the lead with a surging Ryan Wingard (Val Halla GC), who was coming off back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17 to grab a tie for first place. With Wingard in trouble off the tee, Hayes hit pitching wedge from 137 yards to two inches to secure the win and grab his first Mid-Amateur title.
Hayes didn’t post a round over par for the weekend, with scores of 72-70—142 (-2) good enough for a two shot win over Wingard. Wingard finished with two rounds of 72 for solo second at 144.
For the second straight day Hayes was slightly sluggish off the start and found himself two-over par through four holes. The momentum quickly changed, as he made a birdie on 7 and made eagle on the 9th hole for the second straight day to turn at one under. After 8 straight pars on the back nine, he finished the event in style by stuffing the wedge on 18 in front of a crowded deck on onlookers.
Wingard almost pulled off a comeback for the ages in this year’s Mid-Amateur. On day one he found himself 7-over par after 7 holes and far out of contention, only to rally with five birdies and an eagle over his final 11 holes to post even par on day one. He kept the momentum going and pushed Hayes all the way to the last hole on Sunday, including the late birdies on 16 and 17.
Wingard almost aced the 220-yard 16th hole, hitting his tee shot within a foot. He birdied the par-5 17th for his second straight birdie to level the score with Hayes going to the last, but an untimely bad swing on 18 forced him to re-tee. He made a great birdie on his second ball, but with Hayes in close on 18 after his wedge, the outcome was decided already.
Finishing in 3rd place at 146 was Brian Bilodeau, who shot rounds of 72-74—146. One shot back at 147 were Jeff Cole (Martindale CC), Andrew Slattery (Martindale CC), and Mike Arsenault, Jr. (Val Halla GC).
In the tournament within the tournament, four players grabbed the last available exemptions into the 2020 Maine Amateur Championship at Biddeford-Saco CC. By virtue of finishing as the top players not otherwise exempt, Arsenault, Jace Pearson (Martindale CC), Curtis Jordan (Portland CC) and Paul Wiggin (Waterville CC) player their way into next year’s premiere amateur event.
The MSGA would like to thank Fox Ridge GC for being such gracious hosts and providing the competitors with top-notch conditions for the year’s final individual championship event.
The MSGA championship season will conclude two weeks from today, with the Four-Ball Championship slated for October 5-6 at Northeast Harbor GC and Kebo Valley GC.