By Kevin Mills

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — It took a few holes for Keegan Fennessy to settle into his round of golf Wednesday. For his father, Scott Fennessy, it took a while longer.

“He seemed to do pretty well with the nerves,” said Scott Fennessy. “For me, it was all the way through. All the way through it.”

The Minot native and former Poland Regional High School standout was in the final group in the last round of the Maine Open. It was the first time Fennessy had played in a tournament in the last group with a chance to win. He entered the day one shot back of leader Jim Renner.

“It was exciting,” said his father. “We couldn’t wait to get here today. We knew it would be good golf.”

After shooting a five-under 66 Tuesday, he shot 73 Wednesday and finished 10 strokes behind Renner. Fennessy finished tied for 11th.

“It was pretty fun,” said Fennessy of the experience. “I wish I could have got a few more putts to drop. I was striking it pretty good.”

Fennessy had competed for championships while in high school but until this week he’s never found himself in a final group with a chance to top the leaderboard.

“In a big tournament? Never,” said Fennessy about playing with the leaders on the final day. “I played in the Big “I” qualifier for the Tiger Woods Foundation. I was in the last group there and ended up winning that.”

He said he didn’t feel the pressure of being in contention for the Maine Open title, but it did take a few holes to settle into his game.

“I felt a lot of nerves in the first three holes,” he said. ” Other than that though, I didn’t feel a whole lot of pressure. It was just more my nerves getting to me.”

For his father, it wasn’t so easy. Scott Fennessy coached baseball at Poland for five years and at Windham for two. Watching his son play in a championship round of golf was far more difficult than coaching.

“It’s absolutely harder watching him,” said Scott. “There’s a lot of good kids out there but coaching, you feel like you’re in charge. When you’re watching him, you feel like there’s nothing you can do.”

As a coach, you can yell, cheer, encourage or instruct your players. That outlet doesn’t exist while watching your son play golf.

“It’s quite a different sport,” he said. “You have to try to stay calm.”

He’d speak with his son on occasion and could see how his round and mood were evolving.

“It looked like he was a little frustrated because he missed, I guess, four or five short putts,” said Scott. “After awhile, it gets a little frustrating, but he had a smile on his face almost the whole time. He stayed pretty even keeled.”

Fennessy birdied the first hole but gave that back with a bogey on the third. After that, he ran off 14 straight pars.

“I got into a rut of making a string of pars,” he said. “It’s tough because you want to go lower, but you don’t want to get on the bogey train either.”

After being even-par on the front nine, he finished with a bogey on 18 to finish one-over for the day. When Renner was making a string of birdie putts to expand his lead, it was tough for Fennessy to match that.

“He was on an unreal streak there on the front,” said Fennessy. “If a couple things went my way, maybe I’d still be within a few, but the way he was playing, nobody was beating him.”

Fennessy tried to focus on his game and not try to match Renner. He focused on hitting fairways and greens like he did during his round Tuesday. He did that for the most part but couldn’t cash in on the greens.

“I couldn’t roll a putt in,” he said. “Yesterday, I had a couple putts drop. I didn’t give myself as good an opportunity as yesterday. It was a little colder and windier, but the thing that really bit me was just not putting.”


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