The determined Plourde reduced the lead to just one shot with seven holes to play, but Creech steadied herself down the stretch and capitalized on Plourde’s misfortunes to win by 11 shots on the steamy, sun-drenched day.

Plourde played the 12th, 13th and 14th holes in eight over par, including a 6-over-par nine at the par-three 14th hole, and Creech played them in 1-under-par.

The 43-year-old Creech wound up shooting a two-over-par 75 on the day for a three-day total of 4-under-par 215. Plourde shot a 10-over-par 83 and finished at 226.

Lewiston High School’s Stephanie Rodrigue shot the low round of the day, a 1-under 72, to finish third at 233.

Calais native Lori Frost, who played in the final group with Creech and Plourde, was fourth at 235 after shooting an 83 on Wednesday, and Lauren Schonewolf of the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth wound up fifth at 236 after shooting an even-par 73.

Creech, who won her first title by seven strokes at the Biddeford-Saco Country Club a year ago, said Wednesday’s win was “special.”

“My dad (Dr. John Aber) passed away this past October, and I thought about him all day,” said Creech, wife of University of Maine Athletic Director Karlton Creech. “He was always there for me. I would always call him after every round.”

Staci Creech, a native of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, who played her college golf at the University of North Carolina, called her Wednesday performance “average.”

“I played OK. I didn’t feel like I managed my game as well as I need to,” said Creech.

“Staci is a great competitor,” said Plourde. “She definitely deserved to win. She played three great rounds. I’m happy for her.”

Creech began the day with a three-shot lead over Plourde and built it to seven after six holes thanks to birdies on No. 3 and No. 6. Plourde double-bogeyed the fifth hole and bogeyed the sixth.

But Plourde hit a number of quality shots and quickly cut into the lead when Creech bogeyed four straight holes (Nos. 7, 8, 9 and 10), and she played them in 2-under-par with birdies on Nos. 9 and 10.

Creech appeared to open the door for Plourde on the par-4 11th when she drove into the rough. But she hit a nice approach shot onto the green and two-putted for par to retain her one-stroke lead, and she said that was a turning point.

“I had a terrible lie in the rough, and I just wanted to get it on the green. I punched it out and, luckily, it ran up on the green and I made an easy four. That got me back on track and my momentum came back a little bit,” said Creech.

She picked up a shot on No. 12 when she parred the hole, and Plourde lipped out a 6-foot par putt and had to settle for a bogey.

Creech expanded the lead to four strokes on No. 13 when she used a nice approach shot to birdie the hole while Plourde registered a bogey when her chip shot landed in the bunker and she three-putted, missing a 6-foot par putt.

Creech sewed up the title on the 14th when she parred the hole, and Plourde registered a nine by driving into the bunker, chipping over the green into the out-of-bounds for a one-stroke penalty, chipping into the bunker, taking two shots to get onto the green and then three-putting.

“It was like a very bad nightmare,” said Plourde. “I lost focus. I was crumbling, I was out of it. I should have stayed focus and played my game.”

“Bailey played tough. It was sad to see that. I’ve done that. She’ll learn from it,” said Creech.

Plourde said she will take the positives out of her performance over the three days.

“I know I have a solid game. I’ll keep focused for the next tournament,” said Plourde, who will be a senior at Lincoln Academy in the fall.

Rounding out the top 10 were Sarah Hansen of the Val Halla Golf and Recreation Center in Cumberland and Kristin Kannegieser of the Martindale Country Club in Auburn, both with 239s; Erin Holmes of Val Halla and Liz Wiltshire of the Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro, who had 242s; and the Bangor Municipal Golf Course’s Liz Coffin, who shot a 244.

Sixty-four women played in the tournament.


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