Erin Holmes tees off at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland for the 2017 Maine Junior Amateur Championships on Wednesday.

Erin Holmes tees off at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland for the 2017 Maine Junior Amateur Championships on Wednesday.

CUMBERLAND — Six strokes down with 10 holes to play, Erin Holmes went to work.

Holmes birdied No. 9, then played the back nine at even-par to to win the Maine Junior Amateur Championship golf tournament at her home course of Val Halla on Wednesday.

“I’ve been playing this (tournament) for, it’s probably my fifth year,” Holmes said, “and I’ve wanted to win it every year and I hadn’t pulled it off. So it’s really nice. And it’s my last year in the junior group.”

Holmes actually made up the six strokes within eight holes, taking the lead on 16 and then holding off Scarborough’s Elizabeth Lacognata and defending champion Bailey Plourde of Newcastle, who both ended up one stroke back.

The finish was so close that Holmes didn’t know she won until the scores were added up in the scoring area.

“I knew it was really close. I didn’t think I had a chance until around the last quarter of the round, the last five or six holes,” Holmes said. “And I was thinking in my head, if I won the last four holes, I’d have a chance.


“I didn’t even know how much I was over (par), I was just trying to focus on each shot.”

Holmes finished with a 12-over-par 156.

Her back nine started bogey-par-birdie and finished with a string of six straight pars.

It was the second day in a row that Holmes played much better on the back nine than on the front, which goes against how she usually plays Val Halla.

“I think it was just kind of a switch mentally for me — had to try and turn myself around a little bit, focus more on my approach shots,” Holmes said.

“I knew I had to have a really good back nine on the turn, since my front was pretty rough.”


Sweet and sour 16

The entire tournament was changed by the 16th hole Wednesday. Holmes went into the hole down two, but came out with a share of the lead.

Plourde, the 2016 champion, was finally making her move after struggling most of the round, but made the mistake of picking up her ball when it sat on the fringe, earning a one-shot penalty.

“Shouldn’t have happened. I wasn’t even thinking about what I was doing. I saw I had a big patch of mud on the ball — didn’t even think that I was on the fringe,” Plourde said. “So I cleaned it off …”

And that’s when she realized what she had done.

“As soon as I did, I was like, yep,” Plourde said. “And I hear the rules official, and I was like, yep.”


Instead of a par, which would have given her the lead, Plourde settled for bogey.

Lacognata entered the par-4 No. 16 up one on Plourde and up two on Holmes. After a triple-bogey, she concluded the hole in third place.

“I knew it was beginning to be a close call,” Lacognata said. “The nerves weren’t hitting me, I guess I wasn’t in my mental focus on 16, that caused me that triple. So from then on, it was definitely more mental battle with some regret creeping in from that.”

Lacognata started Wednesday with a one-stroke lead on Plourde and a two-stroke advantage over Holmes. Lacognata double-bogeyed No. 1 to fall into a quick three-way tie.

While Plourde and Holmes stumbled, the rest of the 17-year-old Lacognata’s front-nine was steady, and after eight holes she led Holmes by six strokes and Plourde by three.

She held a three-stroke lead over both after 14 holes. But that quickly slipped away as she bogeyed 15 and then had the triple-bogey on 16.


“The back nine I wasn’t making the putts as much as I was on the front, and so that was a big part of it. That would have been all my strokes on the back,” Lacognata said. “And some of my approach shots could have been a little better, I think, and I could have been a little smarter when it came to around the green.

“Definitely, the front was better, but that’s what golf’s about: when you turn on the back, you have to reign in the focus a little harder, especially when I knew I was in the lead.”

After playing the first four holes Wednesday at four-over, Plourde settled in with six straight pars. But the round was a struggle for her.

“I never found my groove,” Plourde said.

On No. 14, she barely missed an eagle, which set her up for a seemingly easy birdie putt. However, she missed that, too, and settled for par.

That seemed like it might be a microcosm of Plourde’s day, and her round seemed doomed. Instead, that’s when she made her move. She birdied 15 to move within one stroke heading into her hard-luck 16.


“I just had to trust my putting stroke, which I haven’t done the last couple days. When I did that, I made a putt,” Plourde said. “Then I thought I was going to finish strong, but that penalty stroke kind of shut that down.”

After her par on No. 1 created a tie, Holmes followed with a bogey and a triple bogey to fall into a hole that she spent the next few hours and 13 holes climbing out of.

Lacognata had a chance to tie Holmes on the 18th green, but she just missed a long birdie putt.

Lacognata will be back next year, while Plourde will be moving on to play at Centre College in Kentucky and Holmes will play at Bucknell.

Lewiston’s Stephanie Rodrigue finished fifth with a 167. Jordan Laplume shot a 79 Wednesday to finish fourth overall (165). Gray’s Janelle Bryant placed eighth (182).

Younger divisions

Hartford’s Ruby Haylock won the girls’ 13-15 division with an overall score of 183.

Haylock’s little sister Jade finished sixth in the the co-ed 12 and under division.

Erin Holmes putts on the 9th hole at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland for the 2017 Maine Junior Amateur Championships on Wednesday.

Erin Holmes putts on the 9th hole at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland for the 2017 Maine Junior Amateur Championships on Wednesday.

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