AUGUSTA — The storm that caused the air horn to bring golfers in at a little after 2 p.m., Tuesday skimmed by the Augusta Country Club and the Charlie’s Maine Open.

The rain wasn’t significant, but the 1-hour, 16-minute delay could have been if Matthew Campbell let it spoil his torrid start on the final day of play.

Campbell, 26, was on the 12th tee at the horn, a hole par at 11 away from the string of birdies that vaulted him into contention at 8, 9 and 10.

The best was yet to come for the Rome, New York native, who kept piling on the birdies on four of his final seven holes to zoom past the Day 1 leaders, who had just finished their third hole.

“Right out of the gate, I birdied 12 and 13,” he said. “I just kept the momentum going from there.”

Brian Agee, of Leesburg, Virginia, the leader to start the day, was relieved to hear first the nearby thunder, then the air horn so he could regroup after shooting 1-over through three and relinquishing his lead.

“I wasn’t striking it the way I wanted to strike it early in the round. The rain delay was actually a pretty good thing. At least I thought it was at the time,” he said.

Agee went to No. 4 after the delay and immediately birdied himself back into the lead. Playing partner David Hilgers of Hershey, Pennsylvania pressed to the top of the leaderboard briefly with biridies at 6 and 8.

“I knew where I was after the delay and I got off to the start I wanted to,” Hilgers said. “And then I made three bogeys in a row to get it back to even.”

The bogey string came at the turn — 9-11 — and then Hilgers got the news that Campbell, who had been buried deep in the Maine State Golf Association’s online updates all day, had rocketed into the lead at -9.

“That makes your swing a bit hesitant at times,” Hilgers said.

For Campbell, the wait after he turned in his card was a lot more intense than the weather delay. So he decided to hang around the putting green and take a drive down Route 202.

“I was just putting around,” he said. “I went to the gas station, got a Gatorade and just kind of hung out.”

Campbell kept his phone close by for updates, then watched Agee and Hilgers finish up from near the 18th green.

Any time he looked at his phone, he could see his lead narrowing, even if he wasn’t actually losing any ground on the scoreboard.

“I knew there was birdie holes coming. I was scoreboard watching the whole time,” Campbell said. “I was pretty nervous. It’s my first as a professional.”

If the nerves turned into an adrenaline rush once he finally got his hands on the championship glass, Campbell surely could use it after a hot, long day on and off the course.

“I have an eight-hour drive home to be at work at 6 a.m.,” he said.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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