Matthew Campbell, of Clifton Park, NY, won the Charlie’s Maine Open on Wednesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Photo)

MANCHESTER — Matt Campbell started the final round of the Charlie’s Maine Open playing dream golf and finished it off playing clutch golf.

Campbell defeated Peter French in the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to claim his second Maine Open championship at Augusta Country Club on Wednesday.

“I love it up here. It’s so much fun,” Campbell said. “I just get really good vibes. Flying up from Florida, I was like, ‘I’m going to win.’ I had that vibe last time I won.”

French (Franklin, Massachusetts) played the final four holes of regulation at 4-under par, including a birdie on 18 as Campbell watched, to force a playoff, the first at the Maine Open since 2012.

The playoff started on Augusta’s No. 4 hole. Both players had similar drives, but French’s second shot was short, while Campbell’s put him only about four feet from the hole.


“He hit a great shot in there, and I came up a little bit short,” French said. “I thought I hit a better shot in there.”

French’s long birdie putt came close but missed, and Campbell quickly sank his to lock up the win and the $9,000 prize money.

“I’m a fast player,” Campbell said. “Get up and go.”

Campbell, of Clifton Park, New York, opened the second and final day of the Maine Open among a cluster of  seven golfers at 4-under, and two strokes behind French and Chelso Barrett.

Campbell needed only two holes to catch up. He birdied No. 1 then hit a hole-in-one on No. 2.

“Career start, right?” Campbell said. “If I get off to a hot start, I usually can put together a halfway decent round. Out here, you have to make birdies to win, so to get off to that start, it’s like a dream start, almost.”


Campbell, who played in the 2017 U.S. Open, said the hole-in-one was his fifth, but his first in tournament play, and his first in six or seven years.

“Three-quarter (swing with) 9-iron,” he said. “We were high-fiving up on the tee, me and the other guys I was playing with.”

After only two holes, Campbell was at 7-under for the tournament. In the next group, French birdied No. 2 to also move to 7-under.

Barrett (Henniker, New Hampshire) bogeyed the first hole to fall out of the lead for good.

Campbell played bogey-free the rest of the round (he only had one bogey in the two days) and held at least a share of the lead for the remainder of the tournament.

Campbell and French were both at 8-under at the turn Wednesday, then Campbell took a one-stroke lead with a birdie on the 10th hole.


He added birdies on the 14th and 16th holes to reach 11-under.

The birdie on No. 16 came courtesy of a 40- to 50-foot putt, which drew a subtle fist pump from Campbell.

“I needed it,” Campbell said. “That’s a birdie hole.”

The putt gave Campbell a seemingly comfortable three-stroke lead. And he knew where he stood the entire back nine, using his phone to follow the live scoring updates provided by the Maine State Golf Association.

“I kind of like to know where I’m at, what I need to do,” Campbell said. “Some people aren’t scoreboard watchers, but I definitely take peeks, just to know what I have to do, if I have to get aggressive.”

Campbell saw French immediately cut into his lead.


French birdied No. 15 and then carded an eagle on No. 16.

“I hit one of the best drives of the day. It was probably the best drive of the week,” French said.

Campbell seemed to be watching with interest from just off the 18th fairway as French missed a long birdie putt on the 17th green.

At the time, Campbell was in a tough spot after his drive on No. 18 went right and into a small grove of trees. That forced him to use his second shot to get back on the fairway, decreasing the possibility of a birdie.

“That hole sets up not very good for me … especially drive,” Campbell said. “I wanted to hit drive, because it’s a birdie hole. I hit it good, just left it out a little. It’s kind of frustrating.”

He settled for par to finish regulation at 11-under-par 129 (7-under 63 for the day).


French’s tee shot on No. 18 sat nicely in the fairway. He spent some time sizing up his second shot, which reached the green, about 50 feet from the hole.

One stroke down, he’d be putting for eagle.

Unlike Campbell, French was unaware of his standing in the tournament when he reached the 18th hole. He said he thought the eagle on No. 16 might have secured the win.

“Coming down to 18, I said, ‘All right, let’s close it out, let’s finish it here,'” French said. “I figured if anything, someone posted 9- or 10-(under).”

He finally asked someone as he approached the 18th green, and found out he was one stroke down.

“I said, ‘All right, we got to rally up here and two-putt,'” French said. “I had a long putt there, I wanted to give it an opportunity maybe to go in, but I really wanted to just two-putt.”


Campbell turned in his score and came back to the 18th green to watch French’s putt.

“I knew he was going to make birdie,” Campbell said. “He’s a great player, so he’s at worst going to make four, or birdie, there.”

While sizing up his long eagle attempt, French cleared every possible obstruction out of his way. His putt rolled and rolled, and just missed the hole by less than two feet.

“It was a good putt,” French said. “I’d been putting good all day.”

After running back to his cart for a quick swig of water while Barrett and the third member of the group, Rhode Island’s John Elliott (1-under), finished their rounds, French sank his short putt to force the playoff.

Campbell was disappointed in his 18th-hole par, but not about the high-stakes situation.


“I love the playoffs,” Campbell said. “I love that situation.”

Campbell, who plays on the PGA Latin Tour, also won the 2015 Maine Open.

The second-place finish is French’s third top five in a New England state open this summer. He was fifth at the New Hampshire Open and tied for fifth at the Massachusetts Open.

After a tough front nine that included three bogeys, Barrett bounced back and played 4-under on the back to finish at 8-under for the tournament, tied for third with Michael Kartrude of West Palm Beach, Florida.

Jack Wyman (4-under) of South Freeport was the low amateur for the fourth time at the Maine Open. He edged Minot’s Will Kannegieser by one stroke. Kannegieser birdied four of the final five holes to finish the tournament at 3-under. Both Wyman and Kannegieser are playing in the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course next week in California.

Jeff Seavey, a teaching pro at Samoset Resort, was the low Maine Chapter Professional at 4-over.


Matthew Campbell, of Clifton Park, NY, plays in the Charlie’s Maine Open on Wednesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Photo)

Peter French, of Franklin, Mass., plays during the final round of the Charlie’s Maine Open on Wednesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Photo)

Peter French, of Franklin, Mass., plays during the final round of the Charlie’s Maine Open on Wednesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Photo)

Jack Wyman, of South Freeport, plays during the final round of the Charlie’s Maine Open on Wednesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. He was the low scoring amateur player. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Photo)

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