Congratulations to Rachel Smith! Maine Junior Champion!
posted on August 1st, 2018
Smith, Collins stage huge comebacks to claim titles in Maine Junior golf championship
Ryan Collins wins the boys’ title in a playoff, and Rachel Smith has a strong final nine holes for the girls’ title.
BY LEE HORTON SUN JOURNAL
Rachel Smith was 2 under on the final nine holes Wednesday to capture the girls’ title at the Maine Junior Championship at Brunswick Golf Club. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal
BRUNSWICK — Rachel Smith and Ryan Collins both tore up the second nine holes at Brunswick Golf Club to rally from several strokes back and win Maine Junior Championship titles on Wednesday.
Collins, of Cape Elizabeth, made up four strokes and then defeated first-day leader Mitchell Tarrio of Augusta in the first hole of a sudden-death playoff after each was at even par to win the boys’ 16-18 title.
Smith (4 over), of Cumberland, won the girls’ championship by making up three strokes and edging Old Orchard Beach’s Jordan Laplume by one stroke.
“It was just shocking,” Smith said.
Collins and Smith both said they entered the second day of the tournament with little to no expectations of winning. Neither went to the scoring table thinking they were going to win.
Collins was in the final group with Tarrio and started to wonder if he had a chance midway through the second nine holes (tournaments at Brunswick Golf Club tee off on hole No. 10).
Smith played a hole ahead of the lead group with Laplume and Lewiston’s Stephanie Rodrigue. Smith, 17, finished her round at 1 under, including 2 under on the second nine.
Her surprise was evident when hearing she finished one stroke better than Laplume.
“I didn’t have the mindset to come in and win it all,” Smith said. “I actually didn’t think that I would be able to, Jordan’s such a consistent player. I just came in trying to shoot a good score.”
Smith entered Wednesday’s round at 5 over. After two bogeys in the first six holes, she played bogey free the rest of the round, recording birdies on the seventh, 13th and 15th holes.
“My iron game was strong,” Smith said. “I believe that I hit all but one green. My irons were on target today, and, of course, that leads to my putting – my putting was great today.”
Laplume, who entered the day at 2 over, played the solid round Smith expected. She had 13 pars and a birdie, and entered the final hole at 4 over.
Laplume’s only hiccup came on the final hole, which she bogeyed after her drive put her in a tough spot near a tree and her second shot went in the water. That gave Smith the championship.
“I’m ecstatic,” Smith said. “I don’t think it’s set in yet, because I really wasn’t coming in here expecting anything out of this. I was just playing my game and it all worked out.”
Rodrigue had two birdies and was even par on the second nine after going 4 over on the first. She finished at 8 over to take third. Elizabeth Lacognata of Scarborough was fourth at 9 over.
Tarrio started the second round at 3-under par. He was still 3 under as he, Collins and Portland’s Jeremy Baker made the turn.
Collins entered the round at 1 over, and after bogeys on the fifth and eighth holes, he was 3 over at the turn, six strokes back of Tarrio.
At that point, Collins said, “I was trying to beat Jeremy, honestly. We’re good friends.”Collins birded the 10th and 12th holes to cut two strokes of Tarrio’s lead. He made par on the 15th hole, and Tarrio three-putted for a bogey.
That’s when Collins said he started to wonder.
Tarrio also bogeyed the next two holes, and Collins countered with a par and a birdie to put both players at even par with two holes remaining.
Collins lost a stroke with a bogey on 17 after his tee shot went far out of bounds.
“Worst shot I hit of the entire tournament,” Collins said. “Probably because I knew I was tied at that point. I was like, ‘Oh, damn, that’s good to get to this point.’”
Collins figured Tarrio would safely play an iron off the 18th tee, which he did. Collins decided to use his driver and aim for the green in two shots, as he had done in Tuesday’s first round.
“I did it (Tuesday), so that helped,” Collins said. “It was also out of necessity. I mean, I had to.”
Collins reached the green in two strokes, then two-putted for birdie. Tarrio reached in three and also two-putted for par. After 18 holes, they were tied.
So Collins and Tarrio headed to the par-4 10th hole for a playoff.
Tarrio went first, and as he did earlier in the round, hit the ball far left. Earlier, his ball bounced back. This time, though, it was in the woods.
Seeing that, Collins decided to play safe and hit an iron off the tee.
“I didn’t even take a club out until I saw where his ball went,” Collins said.
Tarrio whiffed on his first swing, then hit the ball into the fairway. He settled for a double bogey.
“That one shot didn’t get me, that’s not what lost me the tournament,” Tarrio said. “The last five holes are what killed me. I play that 1 over, 2 over, I win.”
Collins scored a par on the playoff hole to win.
“It’s especially good to win it my last year playing in this organization,” said Collins, who was the 13-14 champion in 2014. “The MSGA is like the only reason that I stick with golf. It was a big part of my junior summers. So it’s good to finally take home this trophy.”
n Turner’s Mia Hornberger (22 over) won the girls’ 13-15 championship. Portland’s Bennett Berg (12 over) won that age group for the boys.
n Pittsfield’s Owen Moore (7 over on nine holes) claimed the 12-and-under title.