By TRAVIS LAZARCZYK

Staff Writer

BELGRADE — Moments before he began his final round of the Maine Amateur Championship at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, Jack Wyman stood at the hole one tee box, yawned, and rubbed his eyes. It wasn’t that Wyman was over tired or bored. With a lot of emotions hitting, the yawn seemed like the best way to release the tension before the round.

“I definitely didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. I don’t think I ever would, being in the position I was in. I think it could have been a little bit of a nervous yawn, too. I was just trying to stay calm,” Wyman said. “I’m always nervous. It’s just a very uncomfortable position to be in. I think I’d rather be tied than one up going into the last day, because you’re put in this mentality you have to just hold on instead of just going out there and doing it.”

Nerves steady, Wyman went out and played the consistent 18 holes necessary to maintain his one shot lead over Cole Anderson. When Anderson lipped out a birdie putt try on 18, Wyman played it safe, taking his only bogey of the day to clinch his second straight Maine Amateur title with a three-day score of minus-6 208.

“If Cole were to make that putt, it would have been phenomenal. It was a downhill slider. My first putt, I didn’t want to leave short and have the same thing, a downhill putt. I hit it a little too hard, but I was hitting it right up the hill afterwards,” Wyman said. “Once he missed his, it was kind of a no brainer. I’m just going to tap it up there and tap it again… I just didn’t want to do anything stupid.”

Added Anderson: “Thought it would take the last inch of break, and it lipped out.”

Anderson, a 17-year old senior-to-be at Camden Hills Regional High School, finished his day where it began, one stroke behind Wyman. John Hayes IV, the 2015 Maine Am winner, climbed from the next-to-last group to finish third at minus-4. Playing with Wyman and Anderson, Drew Powell was fourth at minus-2.

Wyman is the first repeat winner of the Maine Am since Ryan Gay went back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.

“The final day is just trying to keep it together mentally. It’s not really about hitting the ball anymore. It’s just kind of keeping your composure, doing everything you can just to hold on,” Wyman said.

What stands out about Wyman’s round Thursday is that nothing stands out, good or bad. The 27-year-old from South Freeport made one birdie, on six, and his single bogey came by design on 18, when Wyman knew he had the tournament won.

“The golf course was set up much harder today. They put the pins in some places, you just couldn’t really attack,” Anderson said. “I mean honestly, (Wyman) played a really solid round. He did what he needed to do.”

“If Cole beat me because I made a bunch of pars, that’s just what happens. I think when you’re in the lead, you’re put in the position, whether you like it or not, to play conservative. That’s kind of always in your subconscious,” Wyman said.

While Wyman birdied six, Anderson eagled the hole, Anderson had bogeyed four, so the eagle cut Wyman’s lead back to one shot heading to the hole that gave him the most trouble during the tournament, seven. Wyman double bogeyed seven on Tuesday and bogeyed the 409-yard, dog leg right par 4 on Wednesday.

“I start thinking about seven when I start the sixth hole,” Wyman said.

This time, Wyman sank an 8-foot putt to par seven. Anderson birdied the hole Tuesday and made par Wednesday. Thursday, it turned into his house of horrors, as Anderson took a triple bogey to fall four strokes behind Wyman. First, Anderson went long on his approach, sailing over the green. He attributed the mistake to poor club selection. Expecting it to go 163 yards, the shot carried 185 yards. Then, Anderson needed to four putt to finish the hole.

“I just made a mess of that green,” Anderson said.

Anderson was five strokes behind Wyman after nine holes, and a bogey on 10 dropped Anderson six behind. Then, the young former New England junior champion found his form. Birdies on 12, 14, 15 and 16 cut Wyman’s lead to two.

“I felt like I was going to win the whole back nine. I felt like I was going to win the whole day, really. My confidence never really wavered,” Anderson said.

While Wyman was happy to continue his string of pars, he felt a birdie got away when he missed a short putt on 15, a hole he birdied the previous two rounds.

“I needed that to go to put out the fire for Cole, because he was just on a tear. If I had made that, it probably would have slowed him down a little bit,” Wyman said. “He made two or three (birdies) in a row there, and I had some good opportunities and they weren’t going in and his were. You start to feel that. There’s no way to avoid that.”

The birdie on 16 was nice for Anderson, but it came after he put himself in position for an eagle with an approach shot 7 feet from the pin. Anderson’s slightly downhill putt missed, and the birdie was his consolation prize.

“The great shot doesn’t count really if you don’t make the putt,” Anderson said of the approach. “We watched their putts dive at the end coming from the other side, and figured mine would straighten out, and it just didn’t. It just dove hard left.”

Wyman could see the charge made by Anderson. What he didn’t know was what Hayes was doing one group ahead. Hayes was spectacular early, with birdies on the first three holes and again on six to go to minus-7. A bogey on seven started a bad trend for Hayes, who then bogeyed 10 through 13 to fall out of contention.

“On 16, I asked my dad (Terry Wyman) if this was a two-man race or if Johnny was still in it. I knew he was playing well, but I didn’t know where he stood,” Wyman said.

Wyman and Anderson each parred 17, giving the defending champ the two-stroke cushion on the final hole.

Now, Wyman moves on to next week’s New England Amateur Championship at Portland Country Club, his home course. For now, Wyman was enjoying his second straight Maine Am win.

“I hadn’t won one before. I wasn’t a top three finisher, ever. I think that after winning last year, I think this year put a little extra pressure on it, knowing that I should be contending if I’m playing well,” Wyman said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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