AUBURN — Staci Creech does not pound a golf ball off the tee like her younger competitors. Her approach shots do not soar majestically.

What Creech does best is compete.

The Bangor resident proved it again Wednesday in the final round of the Maine Women’s Amateur golf tournament, posting the low round for the third straight day to win her third straight state title by five strokes.

“It’s not a social event out there for me. I’m going out to play competitive golf,” Creech said. “I’m not out there to make friends. I’m out there to win a golf tournament. I can make friends afterwards.”

Creech’s stoic demeanor, precise, almost languid swing, and confident cross-handed putting grip led to both key par saves and one tourney-clinching birdie on Martindale Country Club’s tricky greens.

Creech shot a final-round 74 on the par-71 Martindale layout to finish at 4-over 217. Talented and improving junior golfer Bailey Plourde, 17, of Newcastle, a 2017 graduate of Lincoln Academy, was second at 222 after a final-round 76. Creech led Plourde by three shots after the second round.

Plourde had nine good birdie putts but couldn’t get one to drop and, after bogeying the first hole, trailed by at least four strokes the rest of the round. Plourde, who plays out of Samoset, also finished second in 2016, 11 shots behind Creech.

“Today I didn’t have too many big mistakes. I didn’t have a double bogey all three days so that was the high point I guess,” Plourde said.

Jordan Laplume, the third member of the final group, matched Plourde’s final-round 76 and finished third, 13 shots behind Creech.

“Staci every time would not make a mistake,” said Laplume, 16, of Old Orchard Beach (Dunegrass). “Every time it was right down the middle. Hit the green and two-putt or if she would miss the green, then she would get up-and-down nine times out of 10. She’s very even-keeled.”

Creech had a couple wobbles but three of her four bogeys came on holes Plourde also bogeyed.

And after consecutive bogeys on 12 and 13 (Plourde also bogeyed both with three-putts), Creech rolled in an uphill 30-foot birdie putt on the 14th to push the lead back to five strokes with four holes to play.

Creech won the 2015 title by seven strokes. Last year she pulled away at the end of the third round to top Plourde by 11.

Plourde showed throughout the three days that she’s able to compete with Creech, matching her even-par round on day one. But the rest of the field is lagging well behind.

Creech has posted the low score in seven of her nine rounds at the Maine Women’s Am (Plourde tied her twice).

“I’ve played with her a few times and I’ve never seen her miss a fairway,” said Kristin Kannegieser, the 2007 and 2010 champ who finished sixth this year. “And the first time I played with her I thought she was getting lucky with her putting and then I realized it wasn’t luck.”

Creech began playing as a youngster in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, one town over from Latrobe, the home of Arnold Palmer. She played at the University of North Carolina, where she met her husband and sometime caddie, UMaine Athletic Director Karlton Creech. She’s played in national tournaments, including the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur, where she qualified for match play.

Creech said she’ll keep playing in the Maine Women’s Amateur as long as she and Karlton live in the state “which I hope is several more years.”

Next year at Rockland Golf Course it will be up to the field, particularly the young players like Plourde, Laplume, Elizabeth Lacognata, 17, of Scarborough (fourth at 232), and 2017 Greely grad Erin Holmes (fifth at 237) to catch up.

“It might get harder and harder because I’m getting older and older, and the juniors are getting better and better,” Creech said.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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