BRUNSWICK — Rachel Smith and Ryan Collins both tore up the second nine holes at Brunswick Golf Club to rally from several strokes back and win Maine Junior Championship titles on Wednesday.

Collins, of Cape Elizabeth, made up four strokes and then defeated first-day leader Mitchell Tarrio in the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the boys 16-18 title. Collins and Tarrio each shot even par over the two days.

Smith (4-over) won the girls championship by making up three strokes and edging Jordan Laplume by one stroke.

“It was just shocking,” Smith said.

Collins and Smith both said they entered the second day of the tournament with little to no expectations of ending it as the winner. Neither went to the scoring table thinking they had just won.

Collins was in the final group with Tarrio and started to wonder if he had a chance midway through the second nine holes (tournaments at Brunswick Golf Club tee off on hole No. 10).

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Smith played a hole ahead of the lead group, Laplume and Lewiston’s Stephanie Rodrigue. The 17-year-old Smith finished her round at 1-under, including 2-under on the second nine.

After turning in her score of 152 for the two days, Smith watched Laplume and Rodrigue finish their rounds, then sat on a bench about 10 feet behind the scoring table. When she heard Laplume finished at 153, Smith’s mouth opened wide and she immediately walked over to hug her mom.

“I didn’t have the mindset to come in and win it all,” Smith said. “I actually didn’t think that I would be able to, Jordan’s such a consistent player.

“I just came in trying to shoot a good score.”

Smith entered Wednesday’s round at 5-over. She bogeyed the first hole and the sixth hole, moving her to 7-over for the tournament. She was bogey-free the rest of the round, while recording birdies on the seventh, 13th and 15th holes.

It seemed that Smith was sinking a nice putt every time the lead group caught up and was watching Smith and playing partner Elizabeth Lacognata finish their hole.

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Smith said, however, that the highlight of her round was the play before her putts.

“My iron game was strong,” Smith said. “I believe that I hit all but one green. My irons were on target today, and, of course, that leads to my putting — my putting was great today.”

Laplume, who entered the day at 2-over, played the solid round that Smith expected. She had 13 pars and a birdie, and entered the final hole at 4-over.

“I hit the ball good today,” said Laplume, who is from Old Orchard Beach.

Laplume’s only hiccup came on the 18th hole, which she bogeyed after her drive put her in a tough spot near a tree and her second shot went in the water.

Laplume, who graduated from Thornton Academy earlier this year, and Smith, a senior-to-be at Greely High School, will be teammates at Merrimack College in 2019-20.

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This is the second straight year a golfer from Cumberland based at Val Halla Golf Course came from far back to win the title. Erin Holmes made up six strokes over the final 10 holes to win the 2017 championship.

“I’m ecstatic,” Smith said. “I don’t think it’s set in yet, because I really wasn’t coming in here expecting anything out of this. I was just playing my game and it all worked out. I’m so happy. I’ve been working so hard.”

Rodrigue scored two birdies Wednesday and was even-par on the second nine after going 4-over on the first. She finished the tournament at 8-over to take third. Lacognata was fourth at 9-over.

Collins comes back

Tarrio, of Augusta, had six birdies in Tuesday’s first round to enter the second day at 3-under par. He added three more birdies in the first nine holes, and still sat at 3-under as he, Collins and Jeremy Baker made the turn.

Collins entered the round at 1-over, and after bogeys on the fifth and eighth holes, he was 3-over at the turn, six strokes back of Tarrio.

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At that point, Collins said, “I was trying to beat Jeremy, honestly. We’re good friends.”

Collins birded the 10th and 12th holes to cut two strokes of Tarrio’s lead. He made par on the fifth hole, while Tarrio three-putted for a bogey.

That’s when Collins said he started to wonder.

Tarrio also bogeyed the next two holes, and Collins countered with a par and a birdie to put both players at even-par with two holes remaining.

Collins’ drive on the 17th hole went far right, far out of bounds.

“Worst shot I hit of the entire tournament,” Collins said. “Probably because I knew I was tied at that point. I was like, ‘Oh, damn, that’s good to get to this point.’”

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Collins’ provisional shot was better, but still put him in a tough spot. Despite the one-shot penalty, Collins still managed to get a bogey, dropping him one stroke behind Tarrio heading into the final hole, a sharp dogleg left with a small stretch of water separating the fairway and the green.

Collins figured Tarrio would safely play an iron off the tee, which he did. Collins decided to use his driver and aim for the green in two shots, as he had done in Tuesday’s first round.

“I did it yesterday, so that helped,” Collins said. “It was also out of necessity. I mean, I had to.”

Collins reached the green in two strokes, then two-putted. Tarrio reached in three and also two-putted. After 18 holes, they were tied at even-par.

Collins thought they were tied for second, assuming someone in an earlier group broke par. But no other golfer was within three strokes, so Collins and Tarrio headed to the par-4 10th hole for a sudden-death playoff.

“I was more nervous on the 18th tee (than the playoff tee),” Collins said. “I learned this from hockey: when you have a tie, there’s a winning tie and a losing tie. I had the winning tie, I came back.”

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Tarrio went first, and as he did earlier in the round, hit the ball far left. Earlier, his ball bounced back. This time, though, it was in the woods.

Seeing that, Collins decided to play safe and hit an iron off the tee.

“I didn’t even take a club out until I saw where his ball went,” Collins said.

Tarrio whiffed on his first swing, then hit the ball into the fairway. He settled for a double bogey.

“That one shot didn’t get me, that’s not what lost me the tournament,” Tarrio said. “The last five holes are what killed me. I play that 1-over, 2-over, I win.”

Collins scored a par to win the tournament.

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“It’s especially good to win it my last year playing in this organization,” Collins, who was the 13-14 champion in 2014, said. “The MSGA is like the only reason that I stick with golf. It was a big part of my junior summers. So it’s good to finally take home this trophy.”

Young champs

Turner’s Mia Hornberger (22-over) won the girls’ 13-15 championship. Portland’s Bennett Berg (12-over) won that age group for the boys.

Pittsfield’s Owen Moore (7-over on nine holes) claimed the 12-and-under title.

Ryan Collins watches his ball after teeing off at Brunswick Golf Club Wednesday during the final round of the Maine Junior Championship. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)(Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Rachel Smith watches her approach shot on a green at Brunswick Golf Club during the Maine Junior Championship that she came from behind to win. 3(Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

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Grass flies as Ryan Collins follows through on a shot at Brunswick Golf Club Wednesday during the final round of the Maine Junior Championship. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Rachel Smith tees off at Brunswick Golf Course during the final round of the Maine Junior Championship where she came from behind to win.(Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Mitchell Tarrio watches his shot as he follows through on a tee shot at Brunswick Golf Club Wednesday during the final round of the Maine Junior Championship. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Stephanie Rodrigue follows through on a tee shot Wednesday morning at Brunswick Golf Course. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Stephanie Rodrigue gives a mock cheer after finally sinking her putt on the 18th hole after 3 putting the hole. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Jordan Laplume hits onto the 18th green after her previous shot landed in the water, opening the door for Rachel Smith to steal the Maine Junior Championship Wednesday at Brunswick Golf Club. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Mitchell Tarrio right watches his tee shot bounce on the fairway as Ryan Collins gets ready to tee up his ball at Brunswick Golf Club Wednesday during the final round of the Maine Junior Championship where they battled for the lead. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Mitchell Tarrio chips onto a green at Brunswick Golf Club Wednesday during the final round of the Maine Junior Championship where they battled for the lead. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Jordan Laplume watches her ball head to the green during Wednesday’s Junior Championship. 3(Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)


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