Kevin Byrne was glad to read the message from longtime friend Justin Lindie, a fellow Husson University and Winslow High School graduate, congratulating and welcoming Byrne to the Husson Sports Hall of Fame. A former Husson football standout, Lindie was inducted two years ago, and was happy to see a friend and fellow Black Raider join him. Have you thought about your speech, Lindie asked?

Speech? What speech?

“I didn’t know I had to give a speech?” Byrne, 30, said.

Byrne will get through his speech Friday night smoothly. If you can sink a 15-foot putt with a match on the line, you can say a few words of thanks in front of a crowd. A 2012 graduate of Husson, Byrne set the golf standard at the Bangor school. For Byrne, golf has been the perfect intersection of passion for a sport and competitive drive.

“I enjoy the competition,” Byrne, who has taken part in numerous Maine Amateur tournaments over the years, said. “As you age, you’re not going to have to stop playing. A guy who’s 16 might be as good as somebody who’s 50.”

In his Husson golf career, Byrne won six tournaments, and placed in the top 10 in 25 of 38 events. Byrne was the 2009 North Atlantic Conference Golfer of the Year and first team all-conference three times. Induction to the Husson Sports Hall of Fame certainly crossed Byrne’s mind, but it wasn’t anything he spent time longing for.

“I guess I thought about it a few times, but it’s not something you expect,” Byrne said.

A hallmark of his play during his college years was consistency, Byrne said. During the Maine state tournament at Natanis in Vassalboro, Byrne had a bad round and shot 80. The next day, he shot 69 to take the title. The response from Bowdoin College’s Ryan Blossom, Byrne’s playing partner over those two rounds, was simple.

“He said, ‘I’m not surprised,'” Byrne said.

Byrne started hitting golf balls when he was 7. A few years later, Bryne spent hours hitting golf balls into the net his family’s neighbor, Vern Zeigler, set up in his back yard.

“I must’ve worn out that net by the time I was 11,” Byrne said.

When he was a little older, Byrne’s father would drop him off at Waterville Country Club in the morning on the way to work. Byrne played all day, until his mother picked him up in the late afternoon. It wasn’t much later he was beating his father, Michael, and older brother, Erik. Byrne won the Class B individual title in 2006, leading Winslow to the high school team championship that same year.

Byrne still plays golf as much as he can. He’ll get to work at his job as a financial analyst with Applus early in the day, allowing him time to get in a round after work. On weekends he’ll often play 36 holes, 18 in the morning with friends followed by 18 with his father in the afternoon. Byrne has a group of friends he regularly plays with. They tee off at 4:30 p.m. and sprint through a round, finishing by 7. They call it an Emergency 18.

“I like meeting people, shooting the (breeze) with them,” Byrne said. “Golf is perfect for that.”

Over the next few days, Byrne will prepare and polish his speech. Will he hit it right down the middle, like a perfect drive off the tee?

Don’t be surprised.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

 

Comments are not available on this story.