Jack Wyman tees off at the 18th hole of the 98th Maine Amateur Golf Championship on Thurday at Brunswick Golf Club.

Jack Wyman tees off at the 18th hole of the 98th Maine Amateur Golf Championship on Thurday at Brunswick Golf Club.

BRUNSWICK — On Thursday, Jack Wyman became the first left-handed player to win the Maine Amateur Golf Championship in its 98-year history.

The way Wyman started out in the third and final round, it looked like the rest of the field might be be left in his dust.

But a round of golf is a grind, and that certainly rang true Thursday at Brunswick Golf Club. Wyman added to the three-shot lead that he entered the day with, saw it get whittled away, found some breathing room again, and then anxiously three-putted for a double bogey on the 18th hole that was good enough for a 5-under 211 and a two-shot victory over Sam Grindle.

It was Grindle himself who admitted to the grind after Wednesday’s second round, which saw him lose his one-shot, day-one lead and fall five shots back of Wyman heading into Thursday.

“I’ve learned it’s a long golf tournament,” Grindle said Wednesday. “Fifty-four holes is a lot of golf.”

Wyman said Wednesday that his lead over Joe Alvarez was anything but comfortable, but he learned Thursday just how uncomfortable being the leader on the final day can be.

“I wanted to stay aggressive all day today but it was a little more difficult than expected,” Wyman said. “The mental aspect was pretty tough to deal with. Happy to grind it out like it was today.”

Wyman’s aggression early paid off. He made birdies on each of the first three holes to increase his lead to six strokes over Alvarez and eight over Grindle.

“Joey made one on (No. 2) right before me, and I had a good look at it. And making that really kind of made me settle in and say, ‘OK, here we go, I got a good chance at this now,'” Wyman said.

“He was playing well, so it was going to be tough to catch him no matter what,” Alvarez said. “But that early in the round you got to still think you got a chance.”

Wyman left an opening with bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes, cutting his lead to five shots over Alvarez (who also bogeyed the fifth) and six over Grindle.

“I think that’s just kind of how it goes,” Wyman said. “You get off to a hot start and you just kind of want to protect that score.”

Grindle, who bogeyed the second hole, played par or better the rest of the front nine, including birdies on the third, eighth and ninth holes, bringing him within four shots of the lead at the turn.

A bogey by Wyman on the 10th sliced the lead even further, to three.

The three-man weave got topsy-turvy over the first four holes of the back nine. Wyman and Grindle both birdied the 11th hole, while Alvarez made a triple bogey to fall nine shots back.

“Just hit a bad shot … and that kind of ended my day. It’s just how it goes,” Alvarez said. “At that point I knew there was no catching him, for me.”

Grindle still had a chance, though. Another birdie on the 12th drew him within two shots of the lead, with two par-3s right in front of him.

But Grindle’s chances were seemingly sunk after his tee shot on the 13th went into the water hazard to the right of the green.

“I got up on the tee, and the flag was kind of middle, and I wanted to try to take a cut at it,” Grindle said. “I knew I didn’t want to miss left because I know — as weird as it sounds, right is obviously the big miss, but left is just as bad because the green runs away. I wanted to take a shot at that flag and see if I could make another birdie.”

Grindle instead made bogey, and to his credit it was a big save. Wyman played the hole admittedly conservative and made par, adding another stroke to his lead. He never let it get lower than three again until he shot a safe seven on the 18th.

“I never want to play that hole again,” Wyman said. “I never play it well, I never have. So I’m glad to put that behind me. I don’t have to stay up at night thinking about it anymore.”

Wyman won’t ever have to think about what it’s like to win the Maine Am again, because now he knows that “really awesome feeling.”

Grindle finished second for his best showing in the Maine Am, after fourth-place finishes in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Alvarez tumbled to a tie for ninth at 3-over.

Cole Anderson took third with a 2-under 214. Anderson, who played in the penultimate group, got as low as 4-under until a double bogey on the eighth hole negated any chance he had of pushing Wyman.

Last year’s second- and third-place finishers, former champ Ricky Jones and Martindale’s Joe Baker — who both played in Anderson’s group — shared fourth place with 1-under 215s.

Tied for sixth at 2-over were Martindale’s Brian Bilodeau, Fox Ridge’s Craig Chapman and former champ John Hayes.

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Jack Wyman wins the 98th Maine Amateur Golf Championship and is congratulated by Nancy Storey, left, executive director of the Maine State Golf Association, at Brunswick Golf Course on Thursday.

Jack Wyman wins the 98th Maine Amateur Golf Championship and is congratulated by Nancy Storey, left, executive director of the Maine State Golf Association, at Brunswick Golf Course on Thursday.

Jack Wyman lines up his shot at the 18th hole of the 98th Maine Amateur Golf Championship on Thurday at Brunswick Golf Club.

Jack Wyman lines up his shot at the 18th hole of the 98th Maine Amateur Golf Championship on Thurday at Brunswick Golf Club.

Sam Grindle eyes his shot on the 17th hole of the 98th Maine Amateur Golf Championship on Thurday at Brunswick Golf Club.

Sam Grindle eyes his shot on the 17th hole of the 98th Maine Amateur Golf Championship on Thurday at Brunswick Golf Club.

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