MANCHESTER — Thanks to past performance, Evan Harmeling already had the words cerebral and generous attached to his name.

On Tuesday, the 25-year-old professional golfer from Andover, Mass., added graceful under pressure to his list of valuable character traits.

Harmeling rallied with birdies on three of the final four holes to overtake Bangor native Jesse Speirs and win the 95th Charlie’s Maine Open at Augusta Country Club.

Even with a handful of spectators tracking live scoring on their smartphones, Harmeling had no idea he was chasing Speirs while he lined up a birdie putt on the par-3 17th hole.

Then playing partner Nick Antonelli knocked in his putt to match Harmeling at 5-under. No additional words were needed.

“When Nick made that, I needed to make mine to stay ahead of him. I kind of had a downhiller, and I didn’t want to be too defensive on that, which I might have been if he’d missed it,” Harmeling said. “It was good to see his go in. It was real good having guys making birdies around you. I love that. It just pushes you.”


Still unaware that Speirs was in the clubhouse with a 66 and a two-day total of 6-under 134, Harmeling drove the green at the 540-yard, par-5 18th in two shots.

Harmeling, who turned 25 on Monday, rolled his 25-foot eagle putt to just shy of the cup, then tapped in for the title.

It was his second pro victory and his second state open championship of the summer. The first came closer to home at the Massachusetts Open in June. Harmeling donated that entire $15,000 check to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

His take for the Maine Open championship: $10,000.

The road of playing regional events and trying to make his mark on PGA Tour Canada is a different and less lucrative journey than most of his college buddies likely know.

Harmeling is an Ivy Leaguer. He majored in politics at Princeton University.


“I played pretty solid. I didn’t win any tournaments in college, which is kind of disappointing,” he said. “We had good teams, but nothing to write home about.”

With the three birdies, Harmeling added a 67 to his opening-day 66 for a score of 7-under 133.

Speirs, now living in Memphis, Tenn., and Geoffrey Sisk of Marshfield, Mass., also finished with birdies on the 18th hole to end in a tie for second.

The 26-year-old Speirs didn’t make a bogey in the final round, but a streak of missed birdie putts on the back nine likely cost him the crystal.

“Four of the last five holes,” Speirs said. “If they go in it’s your time, and if they don’t, then it’s just not meant to be.”

A spectacular save from the deep fairway rough furnished Speirs the clubhouse lead on 18.


Undeterred by the punitive lie and a lengthy line of trees to his immediate right, Speirs launched a 4-iron from 225 yards and landed it in the fringe to the far right corner of the green.

He chipped to four feet and sank the putt, backing up previous birdies at 3, 5 and 11.

“It’s been a great two weeks,” said Speirs, who also played the Greater Bangor Open during his working vacation. “I feel like my game is headed in the right direction. Evan played great today and he deserves to win, but I feel good about what I’m doing.”

While Speirs was solid, 1996 Maine Open winner Sisk was sensational as Harmeling on the back nine, rebounding from a double bogey at No. 9 with birdies on 11, 12, 14, 15 and 18.

Sisk, who recently played in his seventh U.S. Open, had a long eagle bid on 18 that could have put him in a playoff. He winced after leaving the initial offering 10 feet short before cashing in the two-putt.

Until the late storm of birdies, it was a tournament nobody grabbed by the throat.


The lead group of Mack Duke, Max Gilbert and Ted Brown played itself out of contention with a shaky front nine.

Harmeling ascended to the lead with a birdie and eight consecutive pars on the front nine and was 5-under for the tourney at the turn. But he bogeyed 10 and 11 to put Speirs in front.

“I probably shouldn’t have hit driver on 10. It was my first driver of the day. I probably shouldn’t have hit it at all,” Harmeling said. “I saw (the course Monday) for the first time. My buddy played in the tournament last year. He just told me to hit 2-iron everywhere.”

An errant approach shot bit Harmeling on the next hole. But a birdie on 13 stopped the bleeding.

“I hit a good shot and made a 12-footer, which was good, because I was reeling a bit,” Harmeling said.

Antonelli, of Atkinson, N.H., finished alone in fourth at 5-under, followed by a three-way tie at 4-under between Jeb Buchanan of Loudonville, N.Y., Brown of Glen Allen, Va., and Jon McLean of Weston, Fla.


McLean was in the group with Harmeling and Antonelli and also owned a piece of the lead on multiple occasions.

Opening-day leader Duke stumbled to a 73 and finished in a tie for 13th at 138.

Hometown favorite Thomas Bean was low amateur with matching rounds of 69, leaving him one shot ahead of Minot’s Andrew Slattery.

Shawn Warren of Cape Elizabeth was the top Maine pro with a two-day total of 140.

Speirs and Sisk each took home $6,250 from the $50,000 purse.

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