MANCHESTER — Ted Brown was born in Calgary, Alberta but grew up near Toronto, which makes him a big Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

“I’m more of one now that I’m not there,” said Brown, who attended Virginia Commonwealth University and currently resides in Glen Allen, Virginia.

Separation warms the heart of a Canadian hockey fan, apparently. Separation from the game he’s been playing professionally for 13 years also made Brown’s one-stroke victory in the 2016 Charlie’s Maine Open that much sweeter.

Brown turned pro right out of college in 2003. He won the second tournament he entered, but his career essentially plateaued for the next six years.

“It took me a while to get to the Web.com Tour (formerly Nationwide Tour),” he said. “I had status in 2010, and then 2011 was really poor status. And then not again until last year.”

“It’s been rocky,” he said of his road to 2016. “It’s been all over.”

He earned his first PGA Tour Canada card in 2014 and earned one seventh-place finish as a rookie. But aside from a sixth and a 10th in back-to-back tournaments on what is now known as the Mackenzie Tour — PGA Tour Canada in September, Brown didn’t have much success in 2015. He missed the cut in most of the tournaments he entered on the Web.com Tour.

“I played my way off that nicely and haven’t really played much this year,” he said.

“I just didn’t have the sponsorship,” he added. “I put the clubs away for four months, literally didn’t touch them for a while, then came back out and started playing a little here and there. But no competition until this week.”

In fact, Brown’s competitive golf ledger this year essentially consists of two Maine tournaments — last weekend’s Greater Bangor Open (where he tied for 10th) and the two-day Maine Open.

He teed off in the final threesome on Tuesday after firing a 4-under 66 on Monday afternoon. Birdies on his first two holes put him in the lead immediately before he went on a bit of a roller-coaster ride for the next 10 holes with two birdies, two bogeys and several missed opportunities.

The near-misses continued on the par-3 15th, where a short uphill birdie attempt rolled just left of the hole. He recovered with a solid tee shot and good approach to leave himself a short birdie putt on 16 that, although he didn’t know it at the time, ended up being the difference.

Brown’s Web.com profile states that his bucket list includes playing a round at Augusta National. After tying for fifth in the 2013 Maine Open and winning the tournament in 2016, Augusta Country Club is likely to at least put a smile on his face when he looks back on his career.

A smile, and collecting a crystal trophy and the winner’s check, were about all Brown had time for early Tuesday evening. He had to hurry off to Thornton, New Hampshire, for Wednesday’s opening round of the New Hampshire Open.

“I came up with a couple of buddies to have some fun,” he said. “We’ll go play in New Hampshire next and then we’ll go back (to Virginia).”

The road is sure to be a little less rocky.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33