CARRABASSETT VALLEY, ME- It took 37 holes to decide the 2022 State of Maine Champion as John Hayes of the Purpoodock Club defeated Portland Country Club’s Patrick Kowker, PGA in a 1-hole playoff.
The State of Maine Championship is held annually at Sugarloaf Golf Club and continually boasts a field of the State’s best Professional and Amateur players. 74 of Maine’s best teed it up in the 36-hole stroke play competition.
After the 1st round, three amateurs sat atop the leaderboard with Brian Bilodeau (Martindale CC), John Hayes, and Connor Paine (Waterville CC) each shooting rounds of 2-over 74 to grab a share of the lead. In the Professional Division Patrick Kowker finished with a score of 4-over 76 to hold a one-shot lead over Goose River Golf Course’s Jeff Seavey.
The second round of the Championship proved to provide some exciting golf with all three players in the final group tied for the lead and the top two professionals chasing them in the group behind. The leaderboard dynamic changed quite a bit over the first nine holes Bilodeau and Paine each running into trouble and sitting six and four shots back respectively. Hayes continued to play spectacular golf shooting a 1-over 37 on the front making only a single bogey on the 1st hole. Kowker made a charge up the leaderboard after shooting a 1-under 35 on the front to tie Hayes for the lead.
After making an impressive birdie on Sugarloaf’s signature par-3 11th, which features a 30+ yard vertical drop on the tee shot, Hayes hit a speed bump on the par-5 12th making a double bogey 7 and then another bogey on 16. Similarly, Kowker strung together a birdie and three bogeys to sit at 5-over par for the tournament heading into the final hole. Both Kowker and Hayes each had makeable looks at birdie on the 18th but ultimately settled for par.
Having already locked up Low Amateur and Low Professional honors, Hayes and Kowker headed to a sudden death playoff for the overall title. Playing first on the 9th hole, Hayes hit a booming drive down the right side of the fairway leaving himself with a great angle into the green. Kowker uncharacteristically popped up his tee shot just into the fairway and was forced to lay up on his second shot. After Kowker put his 3rd shot on the green roughly 20 feet from the hole, Hayes stuffed his 3rd shot to within a foot of the cup. Kowker impressively made his long par attempt, but Hayes’ putt was all but a formality as he tapped in for birdie and the 2022 State of Maine Championship.
This was Hayes’ first state of Maine Championship and the second consecutive year that the tournament was won by an amateur. Other Division winners included Jeff Seavey, PGA (Senior Professional), Todd Bell (Senior Amateur), and Bennett Berg (Junior Amatuer).
Thank you to Sugarloaf Golf Club and Head Professional Chaz Babin PGA, and Superintendent Ryan Blake for hosting the 2022 State of Maine Championship!