MANCHESTER — Ruby Haylock wasn’t opposed to the Maine Women’s Amateur Championship being decided by a tee shot. Or an approach. Or a pressure-packed putt.

She just didn’t want it all to come down to a chip.

“This morning, one of the first things I said to my dad and one of my friends was ‘I need to make sure that I get on the green in regulation,'” she said, ” ‘because my chipping is not going so well.'”

That all changed at a most critical moment. Haylock chipped in for birdie on the first playoff hole to overcome a remarkable rally by Bailey Plourde and earn a dramatic Maine Women’s Amateur victory at Augusta Country Club on Wednesday afternoon.

“When I was playing in my first (Women’s Amateur), I’d look at everyone playing and I’m like ‘Wow, they’re a lot bigger than me. And they’re really good,'” said Haylock, 15, who carded a 1-over 74 and finished the tournament at 4 over. “I wanted to win so badly. … I’ve looked up to it for a long time.”

She was in position for a stress-free victory until Plourde, the 2018 champion, came alive with time running out. She played the final three holes at 2-under par, erasing Haylock’s four-shot lead and sending both golfers to a 55th hole.

As Haylock, who sank a tricky putt of just under 10 feet for a tournament-saving par on 18, headed to the 10th tee for the playoff, she made it a point to turn the page.

“After 18, I just said to myself ‘This is like a new nine,'” she said. “‘You have to get yourself back together, and just finish the best you can.'”

Ruby Haylock chips in for a birdie on the first playoff hole – No. 10 at Augusta Country Club – to win Maine Women’s Amateur on Wednesday in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Haylock and Plourde both found the left rough with their drives, and while Plourde’s approach found the back of the green, Haylock’s settled on the apron in front. Haylock pulled out her 56-degree wedge and hit a chip that started high, bounced twice, and rolled in.

The onlookers cheered in astonishment at the shot. The reaction from the person who hit it, however, was noticeably subdued.

“I was excited, but I’m pretty good at controlling everything,” she said. “I didn’t want to go too crazy. Bailey still had to make her putt, and I wasn’t sure what she was going to do. She’s fairly good under pressure.”

Plourde’s putt was tracking toward the hole, but ran out of steam about a foot shy.

“I think it was a mix of emotions,” said Plourde, a friend of Haylock’s. “My heart probably dropped. That’s always tough to see. I’ve been in playoffs before and I’ve fared well in them, but I was very proud that she made that. That’s a tough shot.”

Plourde began the day two shots back, but was even with the Leavitt Area High School junior at 5-over by the turn. Haylock jumped back in front with birdies on the par-5 11th and 13th holes, and when she stuck her tee shot on the par-3 15th just 2 feet from the pin and Plourde found the bunker en route to a bogey, it appeared the Centre College player had fallen too far behind.

The thought occurred to Plourde as well.

“I got in that bunker on 15 and I was like ‘Well, that’s obviously not where I want it,'” she said. “(But) I had played really confident yesterday on 16, 17, 18, and I felt the same (feeling) that it was going to be a good three holes.

“I was concerned that it was going to be tough, but I knew I could do it.”

After Haylock bogeyed 16, Plourde needed to pick up another stroke, and she got two on the par-3 17th when she put her tee shot 6 feet from the hole, setting up a birdie, while Haylock found the bunker and couldn’t get up and down.

Down only one, Plourde crushed her drive on 18 and put her second shot 15 feet from the pin, leading to a two-putt birdie.

“I just told myself it’s not over until it’s over,” Plourde said.

The pressure was now on Haylock, who laid up but was right of the green on her third shot. Her chip stopped about 10 feet from the hole, but she drained the putt to extend the tournament.

Bailey Plourde pumps her fist after sinking a putt on the eighth green during the final round of Maine Women’s Amateur on Wednesday at Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“I went into the putt like any other putt,” she said. “I was like ‘You know what, you’re fairly good at these short 10-footers. Just do what you can do and get it in the hole.'”

Defending champion Jordan Laplume tied with Kristin Kannegieser and Rachel Smith for third at 22-over, while Carrie Langevin shot 78 to finish sixth at 23-over.

Smith was in the final group with Plourde and Haylock, and the 19-year-old said playing in the spotlight will help her progress.

“I’ve never been in the final group before, so having this experience was huge,” said Smith, who shot 85. “I did not play well, I was fighting with myself all day. But the experience was once in a lifetime.”

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.