John Hayes IV made the news with one of the most dominant Maine Amateur golf championship performances of recent vintage.

Then the 25-year-old delivered the bad news to every other player with a vested interest: He likely isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Past young winners of the state amateur have cut the field a break by scurrying off to college in the south or hitting one of the regional professional circuits in pursuit of a PGA card.

Well, Hayes is already more than a year out of the University of Colorado. And the stark truth about pro golf is that to earn a small fortune, you essentially have to start with one.

“I would need to get a sponsor. A lot of my friends do it. I was down in Florida this winter. They play in crappy two-day tournaments, making no money at all. Some tournaments are $1,000 to enter,” Hayes said. “I’d like to turn pro, but I need to get some money. I’m just going to keep on playing golf tournaments. I need to get so much better. Keep working at it, keep trying to play.”

That’s a scary thought for the opposition.


Hayes played the Maine Amateur at 9-under for 54 holes and won by five shots at Waterville Country Club. Runner-up Mark Plummer, he of the record 13 state titles, was the only other player to break par.

Rarely missing fairways and almost never getting himself into trouble, Hayes showed the field that he has evolved dramatically from the player who had only one other top-five finish in the showcase.

“I’ve been playing in these since I was 12, and playing in MSGA tournaments since I was 10, so it’s taken a while,” Hayes said. “The last four years I felt like if I played well, I could win it, and this year I actually played well.”

Hayes had no shortage of championship credentials or powerful family ties to the great game before his breakthrough in Oakland.

A part-time resident of Newport, R.I., Hayes won that state’s stroke-play championship in 2013. He also lurked on the leader board of the New England Amateur that year.

“I’ve played better in the New England Amateur than the Maine Amateur, for some reason,” he said.


The Roman numerals are significant, by the way. Hayes’ great-grandfather and namesake was one of the first club professionals at Newport Country Club, one of the five founding courses of the United States Golf Association. His father still holds a membership there.

Yes, it’s the same course where his chief Maine Amateur opponent stared down Tiger Woods in the semifinals of the U.S. Amateur in 1995. Hayes’ memories are a little foggy, since he was only 5-year-old spectator, but he recently unearthed the evidence in his parents’ basement.

“My dad still has the VHS tape. I actually found it a couple weeks ago, because they’re selling the house,” Hayes said. “(Plummer) still grinds it out just like then. I haven’t watched it in forever, but it’s pretty cool stuff.”

Hayes won Maine’s match play championship in 2012.

Not that he needed any evidence or self-assurance that he could compete at this level after his collegiate career, which began in Maryland at Towson and concluded in the Rockies.

“College tournaments are much more difficult than this,” Hayes said. “The competition is just so good. But Ricky Jones beat Dustin Johnson in the U.S. Amateur, and he was the No. 1 ranked amateur golfer in the world at the time. There’s great competition everywhere you go.”


Those tournaments are full of players who hit the ball a country mile and putt with robotic precision.

In order to shine when he returns to his summer home, Hayes, who hails from Cape Elizabeth and plays out of Nonesuch River in Scarborough, drills himself on the basics.

“To be good at golf in Maine, you’ve got to have a wedge game,” Hayes said. “When I practice, all I do is driver and 9-iron, because you should be having 8-to-10-footers for birdie with that many wedges.”

He made 17 birdies in three days at Waterville.

If that number didn’t make the competition’s heads spin, the thought of Hayes hanging around for another year, or five, or 25, absolutely does.

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