BRUNSWICK — With the glass vase trophy for winning the Maine Amateur golf championship in his hands, Jack Wyman now had to consider what to do with the prize. One friend suggested pour in a victory beer and drink from it, but Wyman quickly shot down that idea.

No matter what Wyman decided to do with the trophy, he knew finding space for it was a problem dozens of other golfers wished they had.

“I’ve played in a lot of Ams now, so to finally get one is an awesome feeling,” Wyman, 26, of South Freeport, said. “I was playing pretty well coming into the tournament, so I knew if I played well I had a chance at it, at least. Really anyone can win out here. There’s a lot of good players.”

With most of Thursday’s back nine played in a steady rain, Wyman wasn’t at his best in the final round at Brunswick Golf Club, but he didn’t have to be. Wyman opened his final round with three consecutive birdies, building a six-stroke lead, before holding on for a two-stroke lead over Deer Isle’s Sam Grindle. Wyman’s three day total of 211 was 5-under par. Grindle, the only player to shoot below par in Thursday’s final round, finished 3-under.

A 2013 graduate of Endicott College, Wyman’s previous best Maine Am finish was sixth place at the Augusta Country Club in 2013. Wyman is the first left-handed player in the 98 year history of the Maine Am to win the tournament. That fact seemed to give Wyman as much satisfaction as the win itself.

“Go lefties, man. There’s a lot of good ones out here, so it’s going to happen more,” Wyman said.

With the three consecutive birdies to open the round, it looked as if Wyman would turn this into a runaway. He opened the day with a three-stroke lead over Joe Alvarez, and when Wyman sank a 12-foot birdie putt on hole 3, he was 10-under for the tournament and six strokes ahead of Alvarez. Wyman’s birdie on three was set up by a nice recovery from a poor tee shot. When his drive found the tall grass right of the fairway, Wyman’s approach was strong enough to set up the birdie opportunity.

“I know Sam and I and the other guys that are trying to knock on the door weren’t going to be phased that early in the round,” Alvarez said.

Back-to-back bogeys on four and five slowed Wyman down. Throughout the tournament, Wyman tried to play aggressively, but knowing his lead, that was difficult to maintain.

“I think that’s just kind of how it goes. You get off to a hot start and you just kind of want to protect that score,” Wyman said. “The mental aspect was pretty tough to deal with. I’m happy to be able to grind it out.”

While Wyman was grinding through his round, Grindle was making his move. Beginning on hole 8, Grindle birdied four out of five holes to pull within two strokes of Wyman.

“There’s nothing you can do. You’ve just got to play your own game. Sam’s a great player. I’ve played with him multiple times now. I knew he was capable of something like that,” Wyman said.

Then, Grindle reached the par 3 13th hole.

The first of back-to-back par 3’s, the 13th green is brackets by bunkers to the left and slopes downhill to water at the front and right. Grindle’s tee shot rolled down the hill. After a search along the shore turned up nothing, he was forced to take a drop.

“I knew I was playing some good golf, and got up on the tee, and that flag was kind of middle. I wanted to take a good cut at it. I knew I didn’t want to miss left, because I know, as weird as it sounds, right is obviously the big miss but left is just as bad because the green runs away,” Grindle said. “I wanted to take a shot at that flag and see if I can make another birdie.”

After watching how the hole played for Grindle, Wyman went conservative. Wyman’s par and Grindle’s bogey pushed Wyman’s lead back to three strokes. That lead increased to four when Grindle bogeyed 15.

“It made my decision easier (on 13). I had a hybrid and a 4-iron, and it made it quite easy to switch back to the 4-iron and hit something up there short and just kind of chip it on and make a par. That’s how it goes. It’s those mental battles out there,” Wyman said.

Alvarez sat in second place until his day unraveled with a triple bogey eight on the par-5 hole 11. Alvarez’s third shot found the bunker well short of the green. His attempt to get out sailed well right of the green.

“That’s a hard bunker shot, from 60 yards out, and I just hit it bad. Then I looked to putt 7 and made 8. It happens,” Alvarez, who finished tied for ninth, said. “At that point, I knew there was no catching (Wyman) for me.”

Wyman set himself up to win the tournament on Wednesday, when he was 6-under through the front nine. With a four-stroke lead going to hole 18 Thursday, Wyman played it extra safe. His double bogey on the 475-yard, par-5 dog leg right hole was Wyman’s second over par result on the hole in as many days, and cut his final margin of victory to two strokes. Wyman didn’t care.

“Eighteen, I never want to play that hole again. I never play it well, I never have. I’m glad to get that behind me. I don’t have to stay up at night thinking about it anymore,” Wyman said. “The tee box kind of sets you up to hit it out of bounds, so you’re just like, all right stay away from that, but the other side has the hazard. It’s just a hard hole.”

The Maine Am opened a busy run of tournaments for Wyman. He’ll play the New England Amateur next week at Metacomet Country Club in East Providence, Rhode Island, before than Maine Open at Augusta and the New Hampshire Open the following week. With his win, Wyman was asked if he’s thought about his place in Maine golf history, alongside other winners of the Maine Am.

“I grew up with Mark Plummer winning everything, so it’s kind of cool to follow in his footsteps and win one,” Wyman said. “He’s got 13 of them, so I have a long way to go.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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