YORK — Second-round leader Ricky Jones and first-round leader Joe Baker found themselves laughing together midway through the third and final round of the 97th Maine Amateur Golf Championship on Thursday.

They knew that there was nothing they could do — first-time event participant Matt Hutchins was on a roll, and wasn’t going to stop.

Hutchins shot a final-round 5-under 65 to beat second-place Jones by six strokes to win at York Golf & Tennis Club.

“You can’t do nothing to change that. Me and Ricky, we both saw it coming,” said Baker, an Oxford resident and Martindale Country Club member who finished in third at 1-over. “We were talking to each other going up, I think, the 10th hole, and we both looked at each other and just started laughing. That’s all you can do.”

Jones birdied the second hole after Jones bogeyed the first to take the lead. Jones then chipped in from the edge of a bunker on the fourth hole to take back the lead.

Hutchins, a 19-year-old from Falmouth who will be attending UCLA after playing for Division-II national runner-up Chico State (California) last year, bogeyed No. 4, but then birdied the fifth hole and took the lead for good with a 50-foot putt for eagle on the par-5 eighth.


“I was just trying to lag that up close, and it was fortunate enough to catch one of the edges and bang in the back,” Hutchins said.

Hutchins also birdied the 10th, 15th and 17th holes, and played without a bogey the rest of the day to win easily.

“It just felt good to hit some good shots and roll in a couple putts,” Hutchins said. “I putted well all week. I was able to make some par saves, and especially the past two days, which kind of kept my round going and kept me in it.”

“It was fun to watch him when he got going on the roll,” said Jones, the three-time Maine Am champ from Thomaston.

“I asked my caddie on No. 10, I asked him what (Hutchins) even shot on the front, because I didn’t know,” Jones added. “I was still thinking about 7.”

The former champ hit his tee shot into a bunker on the par-3 7th, couldn’t get out on his first try, then hit his second past the hole. He then needed two putts to finish, taking Jones from a two-shot lead to all-even with Hutchins and Baker.


Jones birdied No. 8, but then bogeyed the ninth to give Hutchins a two-shot lead.

That lead kept growing, and not even the dangerous 16th hole could faze the youngster, who finished second in the New England Open and third in the Massachusetts Open earlier this year. Hutchins played a safe second shot on the par-4 short of the green, but then chipped his third shot a foot away from the hole before tapping in for an easy par.

“That was good,” Hutchins said. “That was a pretty straight-up pitch chip, and just if you hit it hard enough it’s going to get up the slope.

“I was just trying to hit smart shots to the middle of the green, and get myself uphill putts for birdie. Just make sure I don’t miss it in places that it would be tough to make par.”

Even up five shots with two holes to go — and the 16th in the rear view mirror — Hutchins said it wasn’t until the 18th green when he felt like the title was in his grasp. He missed a chance at birdie, but a par putt hit the bottom of the hole.

“It’s always special, especially to win your own state am,” Hutchins said.


The Massachusetts transplant, whose family returned to Maine in the fall after 12 years in the Bay State, made his way to the top of the leaderboard with a first-round 72 and a second-round 67 on the par-70 course. His two under-par rounds were part of just eight total for the tournament.

Baker had the lone below-par round on the first day, then bogeyed the last two holes in the second round to give up a chance for another. He birdied two of the first five holes Thursday, but played 3-over the rest of the way.

“I didn’t make anything happen,” Baker said. “If you don’t make nothing happen you’re not going to win. And (Hutchins) turned it on.”

Sam Grindle, from Island Country Club in Deer Isle, shot a 3-under 67 on Thursday to take fourth place with a three-round score of 212.

Three more Martindale members finished in the top 16. Brian Bilodeau shot an even-par 70 on Thursday to tie at 9-over with 2014 champ Andrew Slattery and two others for 12th place. Will Kannegieser was a shot back in a tie for 16th. Curt Jordan of The Woodlands Club, who grew up in Minot, finished tied for 20th at 11-over.

Defending champ John Hayes IV and 13-time champ Mark Plummer were tied with two other players for 22nd place at 12-over. 


Comments are no longer available on this story