Dustin Cone called his round “boring.”

And it was.

The Vermont native, now a resident of Florida and a full-time professional golfer, scored just one bogey and two birdies in an unspectacular round of 71 in the second round of the Charlie’s Maine Open at Riverside Municipal Golf Course on Wednesday.

But like that wise old turtle will forever remember anyone who will listen, slow and steady will eventually win the race — or, in this case, the tournament.

Cone’s 71 was good for a two-day total of 10-under 134, and good enough to hold off a final round 66 by former Old Orchard Beach golfer Robert Roylance and a 70 from playing partner Mark Stevens of Concord, N.H., to earn the crystal as the 2010 Portland Maine Open champion.

“It’s tough, because we only have our own group leaderboard,” Cone said. “There are so many guys out here who can go low, and there are so many holes coming in you can reach the green, so you have to be aware and use a little course management. It was tough, but we made it through.”

It was particularly special for Cone, though. His wife, Dana, flew in on Sunday. Married less than two years, Dustin stopped short of calling Dana his good luck charm. But just by being in Portland — as she sat in the cart and read through most of the final round — she contributed to his victory.

“To be honest, when I met her, she had nothing to do with golf,” Cone admitted. “She’s an English teacher, and she just likes being out here, and sometimes she doesn’t even know I made a putt until someone walks up and tells her. But she’s good company; she really is. She helps keep me level-headed. I’ll come into the cart mumbling to myself and she’ll tell me to straighten up. So it’s good, she’s great company, I was happy to have her back up here.”

He needed to keep a level head, too.

He started shaky for a player coming off a 9-under 63 in the first round. Pars on his first seven holes were less than spectacular, and he bogeyed at No. 8.

“No matter what tournament you play, you’re gonna get the jitters,” Cone said. “I was nervous, happy, excited all at once, and the wind was blowing (hard), too.”

Meanwhile, Cone’s challengers were lining up. Up ahead a few groups, Roylance, who shot a 69 on the first day, fired a 66 in the second round to post a 9-under 135,

“I really didn’t have the pressure on me, I wasn’t the one trying to hold onto a lead or anything,” Roylance said. “I knew I had to go out there and go after it, shoot at the pins. I took out driver on a few holes I normally wouldn’t just to try and drive the greens and make as many birdies as possible.”

Just one group ahead of Cone, Tim Desmarais was crafting his own Cinderella story. A former Maine State Golf Association intern, Desmarais left the state and this year returned as an assistant at Purpoodock in Cape Elizabeth. He began the final round at 5-under, four back of Cone. By his 11th hole Wednesday, he was in the lead by one stroke.

Not that he knew it.

“I knew when I turned to the back nine, I had to start turning up the heat,” Desmarais said.

He promptly eagled the 10th hole and birdies the 11th with a 20-footer, moving him to 10-under.

“I thought then, ‘OK, now we’re rolling,” Desmarais said.

After a good par on a tough par-3 11th, he chunked a shot out of the bunker on the 12th and made only par on the short par 5. He made a miraculous bogey at 13 after hitting the ball in the hazard, but followed that with two more bogeys to fall off the pace.

“I knew I was doing well, but I never knew I was in the lead,” Desmarais said. “Which was probably a good thing. But at the same time, I kind of wish I would have known, maybe I would have been like, ‘OK, this is your tournament to win,’ instead of going after every shot.”

Ricky Jones added another piece of hardware to his collection, too. One of Maine’s top amateurs, Jones took home the trophy as the tournament’s low amateur with a two-day total of 2-under 142. Desmarais still earned the prize as the low Maine chapter professional with his 7-under 137, and Gary Manoogian and Mark Plummer tied at 5-over 149 for low senior amateur.

The MSGA’s calendar continues to ramp up next week with the 92nd Maine Amateur, being contested this year at Kebo Valley Golf Club in Bar Harbor.


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