MANCHESTER — Last summer, the Charlie’s Maine Open was decided by a playoff hole. Two golfers, sudden death, and it was a thrilling way to end a good tournament.

So you knew the sequel had to be bigger. The sequel always has to be bigger.

Wednesday afternoon, the Open once again went to a sudden death playoff. This time, the number of players doubled to four. It didn’t take one hole to decide a winner. It took four. Add rain that seemed to get harder with each ensuing playoff hole, and you have drama not seen in Maine golf in some time.

“I didn’t know if it was ever going to end, and the rain, it felt like it was coming down even harder. I obviously wanted to win, but I somewhat wanted it to be over,” said Jason Millard, the Tennessee pro who outlasted Matthew Campbell over the four playoffs holes to win the tournament.

Last year, Campbell outlasted Peter French on one playoff hole to claim his second Charlie’s Maine Open title. Wednesday, Campbell and Millard saw Jason Thresher and Shawn Warren knocked out after a playoff on hole one at Augusta Country Club.

“My first Mass Open win was a three hole aggregate playoffs. I lost the Connecticut Open in a three hole aggregate playoff,” Thresher said after missing the birdie putt that forced elimination. “This might be my first sudden death playoff in one of the state opens in New England, so it was a little different.”

The assistant pro at Falmouth Country Club, Warren played out of his mind to even get into contention. On Tuesday, Warren shot a mediocre even par. Wednesday, he was the best golfer on the course for 18 holes, shooting a minus-8 62, the low round of the tournament. Warren had an hour to sit and wait as the other three, all playing together in the final group on the course, finished their round.

Thresher matched Warren’s minus-8 with a birdie on 16, then took par on 17 and 18. Campbell birdied 17, then birdied 18 after making the best shot of his tournament. After his tee shot ended up in the trees right of the fairway, Campbell used a 3-wood to get to the green of the 540-yard par 5. When Millard birdied 18, the playoff fab four was set.

Warren’s tee shot on his playoff hole went left, and his approach was a line drive into the bunker below the front of the green. His shot out of that landed in rough off the back of the green. After playing his best golf for 18 holes, a couple bad shots cut Warren’s payday from $7,000, the winner’s prize, to $2,733.33, the same prize won by Campbell and Thresher. The $7,000 went to Millard.

“I just assumed I’d need to make birdie. I hit a pretty good shot in there I saw it from the fairway, and it bounced right when I thought it would bounce to the left. It left me a little too long of a putt,” Thresher said.

Milard and Campbell played on. They both earned par on hole two. On hole three, Campbell’s 20 foot putt from the fringe of the green hit the stick and lipped out. Millard’s 16 foot putt for birdie also missed.

“For some reason I wasn’t nervous in the playoff at all. I was nervous in the round, but when I got to the playoff I was not nervous at all. I need to try to figure that out for in the future,” Millard said.

The rain fell, and they had to ignore the way their shoes squished when they walked. They had to make sure wet hands didn’t slip on wet club grips as they swung. Milard asked an official for a dry towel. Everything was soaked.

The fourth playoff hole was back on hole one. Campbell’s tee shot found the pines to the left of the fairway, and his approach was below the green. Not in the bunker as Warren had been earlier, but still a tough lie. Campbell chipped to within inches of the hole, and Millard had to sink an eight foot putt to avoid a fifth playoff hole.

“I wanted to make a putt to win. I didn’t want (Campbell) to make a bogey or something and me win off that. He’s a great guy. He’s a tough competitor,” Millard said.

Off the top of his head, Milard guessed Wednesday was his fourth or fifth playoff. He’d been in this situation before. Maybe not in the driving rain, with this much money at stake, but he’d been here. Just like Campbell has been here last year.

“I’ve definitely been on the other end, too. I try to learn from those experiences for when I get in those situations again,” Millard said.

Millard’s putt was good. The long, wet playoff was over.


Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.