AUBURN – Call it paying their last respects.

The final two groups of the day came to the fifth tee at Fox Ridge with each player still within shouting distance of the lead, each with a chance to take the 88th Charlie’s Maine Open crown.

Only one of the six golfers made par, and two took quadruple bogey 7s.

William Ladd II found trouble first, putting his drive from the back tees into the water to the left side of the peninsula green.

That seemed to help Sean Gorgone, who then selected his club and addressed his ball. He, too, found the water short of the green.

Both players then dropped in the appropriate zone. Gorgone again dunked his ball, dropped again and hit his fifth shot onto the green. He two-putted for a seven.

Ditto for Ladd. Both players fell well back of the pace and never were in contention.

In the next group, after watching for 10 minutes while Gorgone, Ladd and John Connelly finished up, all three of Mike Baker, Ricky Jones and Rich Parker came within five feet of the water, each on a different part of the peninsula.

“I just saw a lot of those other guys in front of us feeding the fish,” said Parker. “I just kept it out of the water, made my four and went on to the next hole.”

None of the golfers made par, and Baker eventually drained a putt for a five.

In this case, advantage-Fox Ridge.

Welcome back

In her closing remarks, Maine State Golf Association Executive Director Nancy DeFrancesco alluded to a potential return to Fox Ridge Golf Club in Auburn next year.

The players, meanwhile, all expressed exasperation with the course’s level of difficulty, but most of them also commented that the course was a true test of golf.

“This golf course is a great venue,” said Parker, who has won every state open in New England except for Maine’s.

Course superintendent Eddie Michaud said Monday at the pro-am tournament his goal was to make par the winning score this week. Jones’ final tally? An even-par 216 over three rounds.

Broken wheel

After finishing his round with fellow amateur Jason Gall in just under three hours Thursday, Wiseman cruised over to the front nine in a power cart to watch Jones play. Wiseman offered to give Jones a ride up to his ball and then be his caddy.

Jones hopped in the cart, but wanted to continue to pull his own pull-cart across a narrow bridge over the gully on the fourth hole.

He positioned his cart in front of the power cart and tried to hold it steady as they crossed the bridge, but his wheels turned and his bag shifted to the left – directly in front of the power cart. The wheel on Jones’ cart snapped off, and his bag tumbled to the ground.

“I guess I have to ride with you now,” Jones joked as Wiseman apologized.

Later, Jones said, “That was actually my fault.”

It wouldn’t matter. Jones recovered to make a good bogey on the hole, bogeyed two more holes before settling down, but still hung on to win – with Wiseman at his side.

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