FALMOUTH — With a fist pump following par on the 18th hole, Ryan Gay defended his title in the Maine Amateur with a dramatic one-stroke victory Thursday.

Gay entered the final hole tied at 1-under with longtime friend and golf buddy Jason Harris of Bath. Gay made par in front of a gallery of some 200 to secure the win. Harris bogeyed the final hole.

Just 20, Gay has won the Maine Amateur three times.

“This one’s awesome,” Gay said. “You haven’t won a Maine Amateur until you’ve won at Portland.”

Gay launched his best shot of the tournament off the 18th tee, and dropped in nicely on the green on his second shot which rolled back toward the pin.

His first putt for birdie from about 15-feet missed, and rolled three feet past the hole.


“I told my caddy, I have to make this putt because (Harris) is going to make his,” Gay said.

That set the scene for Harris, who had stormed from behind, to possibly force a playoff.

Harris had gotten trapped in the sand bunker off the right of the green, had to chip on for his third shot, but was set up for par.

His shot, incredibly close, just rolled along the lip of the cup by a hair, and he was forced to two-putt for a bogey give Gay the opportunity to win.

Gay sank the shot and finished at a 1-over 71 and three-day score of 1-under 209. He then shook his friend’s hand, along with Jason Gall, who finished third with a 1-over 71 to give him a three-day total of 2-over 212.

Harris shot the best round of the day: a 68, but Gay’s 1-under 69 on both Tuesday and Wednesday helped carry him to the win.


Harris shot a 70 and 72 on the first two days.

“The second round kind of killed me,” Harris said. “But I played pretty well to put myself into it.”

Harris had a big putt for birdie on the 16th hole and was putting especially well.

“I was reading a few chapters from a putting book and just focused on the routine,” Harris said. “Then (on 18) I was fortunate the bunkers are pretty soft.”

Harris, who will turn 20 in a week, has known Gay since the two were 12-years old.

They play golf together nearly every weekend and this Sunday morning will be setting off for another tournament together.


Following the final, the two posed for photos together.

Gay, who has now won three Maine Amateur championships — 2008, 2010, and now 2011 — said he is shooting for five titles before he hopes to turn pro.

He will be a junior at the University of New Mexico next year.

“J.J. made a lot of great putts, and put the pressure on me all day,” Gay said.


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