CARRABASSETT VALLEY – The last-day charge was there for Bob Darling Jr. on Wednesday, but it came just a bit too late.

Darling, the head professional and director of golf at Fox Ridge in Auburn, birdied his final three holes of the day, the seventh, eighth and ninth holes at Sugarloaf Golf Club, to finish in a tie for second place at the State of Maine Championship with John Hickson of Litchfield.

The pair finished just one stroke behind winner Mark Plummer, a 13-time Maine Amateur champion, who birdied his 17th hole, the par-3 eighth.

Hickson nearly finished in a tie for the top spot, but bogeyed his final hole, the par-4 ninth, to fall back into a tie with Darling.

None of the top contenders started particularly well Wednesday.

Plummer carded a triple-bogey seven on the 10th, his first hole of the day, and followed that with a double-bogey six on the par-4 14th.

Darling started his round bogey-bogey, while Hickson fired a double-bogey seven on the par-5 12th hole, his third of the day.

Darling recovered, though, to shoot the low round of the day, a 1-under-par 71.

That also tied for the low round of the two-round tournament with Plummer, who fired a 71 on Tuesday to take the lead.

Plummer won the inaugural State of Maine Championship in 1990, and again won two years ago.

Darling has won the event four times, including back-to-back wins in 2002-03.

Defending champion Terry Hatch was not in the field this week.


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