Chad Hopkins had every reason to be positive. And he was.

He was speaking at Old Marsh in Wells on Thursday about the Exotics Tour Pro-Am Series, after he shot a 68 to lead his team to a 16-under-par total score in the tour’s third event of the season.

With that score the Hopkins team of Jeff Freeman of Sabattus (The Meadows), Tim Malia of Auburn (Poland Spring) and Denis Webber of Sabattus (Poland Spring) finished in the pro-shop prize money. At 68 Hopkins individually tied for second place money with past four-time Maine Amateur champion Sean Gorgone.

“I stand by it. I have played in every event,” Hopkins said of the five Exotics tournaments in 2013, and the first three of six in 2014. “The courses always are in the best shape, and it is the best tournament value of its kind.”

Hopkins, the owner of the Hopkins Golf Center in Brunswick (formerly Longshot Driving Range and Miniature Golf), and the Hopkins Golf School at The Meadows, Apple Valley, Cobbessee Colony, Prospect Hill and Country Fareways, knows that the tour is unique in this part of the country. Similar tours exist in warm weather states, but not in the northeast.

“It is Maine’s mini-tour,” said Hopkins, whose 2014 season highlight is being on the winning team at the George Bush Celebrity Classic, the proceeds of which went to Gary’s House, a home for terminally ill children. His team captured that event in June at Cape Arundel.

The Exotics Tour is three times blessed.

1. Maine golf pro Johnny Johnston, who is the Exotics tournament director and founder.

2. The backing and golf courses of Harris Golf, which runs the events.

3. Support from Nike through its Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine regional sales representative, Alan Way.

Those three factors have made the Exotics Tour unique among northeastern states because of the level of competition and compensation for winners. Proof of that is in the fact that 40 foursomes competed Thursday for lucrative pro and amateur prizes.

Tim Desmarais of Purpoodock won the $3,000 first-place prize money. He and Hopkins were great friends when they worked together at Purpoodock, and Hopkins with tongue in cheek took personal credit for the refinement of Desmarais’ game on the Purpoodock range.

“He owes me a beer for his victory today,” Hopkins said with a grin.

The remainder of the top 10 Thursday: JJ Harris of Penobscot Valley, whose 70 was fourth. Tied for fifth at 71 were Ryan Gay of Augusta, Shawn Warren of Falmouth, Michael Hersey of Samoset, John Hickson of Dick’s Sporting Goods in Topsham, Evan Hyme and Kirk Hanefeld of Massachusets.

The Exotics Tour Pro-Am Series Event No. 4 is August 26 at Sunday River in Newry.

British trivia

Many golf fans, intense or casual, have been excited about the return of Tiger Woods to majors golf this weekend at the British Open. Provided by PGATour.com, here are a couple of facts from the British Open which may surprise you:

• There is a top 10 list of players who have not won the British Open. In reverse order they are: 10. Fred Couples; 9. Ben Crenshaw; 8. Payne Stewart; 7. Bernard Langer; 6. Hale Irwin; 5. Jimmy Demaret; 4. Vijay Singh; 3. Raymond Floyd; 2. Billy Casper; 1. Byron Nelson. Floyd, Irwin and Singh did finish as runners-up, and Couples was third twice.

• Only six Champions Tour players were invited to the British Open: Mark Calcavecchia, Nick Faldo, Miguel-Angel Jimenez, Sandy Lyle, Tom Watson and Mark Wiebe. Conspicuously absent from both lists is 2014 Senior Open and Senior PGA champion Colin Montgomerie. For all of his fluff, Montie never has won a PGA Tour major.


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