OAKLAND — On Thursday morning, Sam Grindle beat Jack Wyman to earn the Maine Match Play Invitational title at Waterville Country Club. The win came five weeks after Wyman edged Grindle by two strokes to win the Maine Amateur Championship. After Thursday’s match, the question was raised, what format can be used to break the tie between the two golfers?

“Sam and I have battled for a long time. This isn’t the first time we’ve met in the finals,” Wyman said. “He’s like my archnemesis. He’s a good buddy of mine. It seems like we always meet up towards the end.”

Until Grindle and Wyman set a time to meet at their favorite mini-golf course to break the tie by seeing who can put the ball in the windmill first, they’ll have to settle for being even this summer. Grindle, the No. 2 seed, won holes 15 and 16 on Thursday, pulling away in a close match and take a 3 and 2 win over the top-seeded Wyman.

“I’ve played Jack a bunch this summer and a bunch over the last five or six years. He’s a great kid. He’s a good player. I knew it was going to be tough, but I knew it was going to be fun, too,” Grindle, 22, said. “Lucky for me, I only had to beat him once.”

This was the first Match Play Invitational title for Grindle, who won the Class C state title for Deer Isle-Stonington High School in 2012.

“This is actually the best I played all week. It’s nice to play your best in the most important time, so I’m definitely pleased with that,” Grindle said.


Grindle clinched the match by sinking an eight-foot birdie putt on the par 3 16th hole. The putt was slightly downhill, and knowing the stakes, Grindle studied it a little longer than usual.

“I was afraid I was going to overread it at first, but I took a little break out and made the putt,” Grindle said.

Grindle put himself in position to win on No. 16 when he took a par on hole 15, while Wyman took a bogey. Fifteen was emblematic of Wyman’s troubles with the putter as his round progressed, but nowhere were the misses more painful than on Nos. 12 and 13. On each of those holes, Wyman missed a birdie putt that would have pulled him even with Grindle, who led 1 up at the time.

“Sam just didn’t make any mistakes, so I knew I had to make a few (putts) in order to win against him. They didn’t fall, but he just beat me. That’s how it goes,” Wyman, 26, said. “The putter just wasn’t there for me today. That’s kind of my story. Overall, I’m happy with it and I’m happy Sam won. He’s a great kid. It just wasn’t my day.”

Wyman did make a few early putts, including a 20-footer uphill for birdie on hole 4 to make the match all square. Judging from his reaction when the ball dropped into the hole, the make came as a pleasant surprise to Wyman.

“I hadn’t really made anything that long all week,” he said.


That all-square lasted exactly one hole. Following his tee shot on five, Grindle walked the fairway with confidence, twirling his driver as he made his way to his ball. Grindle’s next shot was arguably the best shot of the three-day, five-round tournament. From approximately 145 yards out and playing a little into the wind, Grindle stuck his approach within a foot of the pin.

“It was nice to hit a few good shots in the beginning. You always like to settle into the round as early as possible. I’ve played a lot of golf this summer, and I’ve played decent, so I was pretty comfortable,” Grindle said. “Jack had missed the green, so I didn’t want to get too aggressive. I just fired the shot down and it was a perfect number, right next to the flag. I was just hoping it wouldn’t come down off that slope, but it stopped right next to the hole. I was hoping it was as good as it looked walking up, and it was.”

Grindle went 2 up when Wyman bogeyed seven. On hole eight, a Grindle bogey cut his lead back to 1 up, where it remained until the final two holes of the match.

“We both went back and forth. We both had a lot of putts to win holes, and hit some pretty good putts. He hit three or four that caught a lot of the hole and didn’t fall. That’s definitely golf. It happens. We both had our opportunities, and I was fortunate enough to take advantage of some near the end,” Grindle said.

Next week, Grindle will head south for his senior season as a member of the golf team at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. The Deer Isle native said he’s undecided about his golf plans after college.

“I’m going to play it by ear. Playing pro golf would be awesome, but we’ll see how it goes. If I’m playing well at the right time, or in for more school. We’ll see,” Grindle said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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