SACO — Emily Bouchard felt good, really good.

Problem was, Staci Creech was even better. Creech played a near-flawless final round Wednesday to win the Maine Women’s Amateur golf championship at the Biddeford-Saco Country Club.

Playing in sweltering conditions, Creech shot a 2-under 70 – the only sub-par round of the tournament – for a three-day total of 222, seven strokes better than Bouchard, who was playing on her home course.

The two were tied with six holes remaining. But Creech had a birdie and five pars to finish strong and Bouchard had one par, four bogeys and a double bogey.

“I wish it could have happened different obviously,” said Bouchard, who won this tournament in 2012 and 2013. “But you can’t beat someone who doesn’t make mistakes when you’re making mistakes.

“She didn’t make any mistakes. Unbelievable.”

Creech, whose husband, Karlton, is the athletic director at the University of Maine (and who was her caddy on Wednesday), was playing in her first Maine Women’s Amateur. The Creeches moved to Maine in January of 2014 from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Staci Creech could play year-round.

“This feels great,” said Creech, who recently finished third in the New England championships. “This is my first state amateur victory (anywhere). We’ve totally embraced Maine. We love Maine.”

Defending champion Leslie Guenther of Hebron finished third with a three-day total of 235. She shot a 75 on Wednesday, as did Bouchard.

The format was changed a bit on Wednesday.

In order for the golfers to come into the clubhouse for the final hole – where the other golfers could watch – they switched over to the backside of the course after playing the first six holes, playing 17 and 18, then finishing up on 7, 8 and 9.

Bouchard had made a run with three birdies in four holes to tie Creech with six holes remaining. That’s when her trouble began. She bogeyed the 13th hole of the day (which was actually the 14th) and Creech two-putted for a par.

Then Creech parred the 14th hole and Bouchard got another bogey – her putts just missing – and Creech had a two-stroke lead with four to go.

And then the clincher on 15. Creech again parred the hole. Bouchard had a bad chip shot then three-putted – again just missing on a par – for a double bogey and it was suddenly a four-stroke lead with three to go.

Even then, Bouchard, who lives in Saco and is the junior varsity golf coach at Thornton Academy, was thinking, “Birdie, birdie, eagle. That’s what I was thinking I was going to do.”

But she couldn’t and Creech, who lives in Veazie, was simply unflappable.

When told afterward of Creech’s score (2-under), Bouchard said, “How do you beat that? You can’t.”

Creech said she simply played well. It was hard to remember any mistakes.

“I wish I had made that short putt on 11,” she said. “But other than that, I can’t think of anything I wished I had done better.”

She said while she doesn’t hit the ball long – like Bouchard – she hits it straight. And having Karlton Creech as her caddy helped. “He always keeps me calm,” she said. “He’s a lot of fun on the bags.”

It was his only day as her caddy and said it was fun to watch her play. He also knows who the better golfer is of the two.

“Her, by far,” he said. “I know my place and it’s on the bag.”

Playing in the lead threesome was also Laurie Hyndman of Cumberland and The Woodlands. She played steady on the front nine, but faltered toward the end to finish with a three-day total of 244.

“Staci is just so steady, she really didn’t make a mistake all day,” said Hyndman.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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