Will Kannegieser, right, and Joe Hamilton bump elbows after Kannegieser won the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Kannegieser won on a birdie putt in overtime on the 20th hole. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

GRAY — For the second straight year Will Kannegieser needed extra holes, and for the second straight year Kannegieser captured the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship, defeating Joe Hamilton in Thursday’s final at Spring Meadows in 20 holes.

Kannegieser needed a birdie putt to finally put away Hamilton.

Last year, Kannegieser defeated Caleb Manuelwho he defeated Wednesday in the semifinals — in 22 holes at Point Sebago.

“It feels good. I knew it was going to be a battle in all of my matches and I feel lucky to be able to execute the shots when I wanted to,” Kannegieser said. “To defend, it’s just a bonus.”

After the two finalists both made par on No. 1 to start the playoff, It was the second playoff hole where the Minot native clinched the match. Kannegieser and Hamilton were on opposite sides of the fairway on hole No. 2, with Kannegieser taking iron and finding the right side while Hamilton took driver and found the left side. No player had the advantage for the second shot, with Kannegieser having 113 yards to the pin and Hamilton 111.

Kannegieser’s shot landed 15 feet behind the pin, and Hamilton answered by sticking it eight feet below the pin. Kannegieser studied his birdie putt from all angles and rolled right in and let out a roar, knowing he probably had to make it.

Will Kannegieser reacts after sinking a birdie putt on the 20th hole to win the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Hamilton’s birdie putt to extend the match just lipped out.

“I figured he was going to make it,” Kannegieser said. “So, I was happy to be able to push (the match potentially to another hole). When he hit (his birdie putt) I walked to my bag because I thought it was in. It took a brutal lip.”

The missed putt was the story of the day for Hamilton, who plays out of Biddeford-Saco CC. There were a few times he stuck his approach shot in close, but had the more difficult putt than Kannegieser, who calls Portland CC his home course.

“Probably like four times today, I hit it a little closer than him, but I had the harder putt with a lot of movement,” Hamilton said. “He canned (all of his putts). I think that was the difference, he made three or four more putts than I did.”

Hamilton looked to have the advantage on the 15th hole, with the match all-square, when he reached the green on the par-5 in two from 260 yards out and gave himself a makeable eagle attempt. Kannegieser, like he did all week, laid up and was within 100 yards, but his third shot landed 40 feet from the pin. After missing his birdie attempt, Kannegieser conceded the hole and Hamilton went 1-up.

Even though Hamilton nearly holed out from the fairway on No. 7, as his ball bounced into the cup and out, Hamilton thought the second shot at 15 was the best shot of the day.

Joe Hamilton hits out of the bunker on the 16th hole during the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“I had a flyer lie, and it was a little bit downwind and I said ‘Lets go, I am not going to play conservative to try to make pars. Lets go after it.’ I took the hardest swing all week and hit it dead center. It was the best shot I hit all tournament, really. It was pretty cool.”

The adrenaline was running for Hamilton after No. 15 and it cost him on the par-3 16th hole, where he put it in the greenside bunker and his second shot went past the flag and rolled off the green. He made bogey, while Kannegieser was on the green and two-putted for his par to even the match.

“I was right in between clubs, and I took less club, I usually don’t do that,” Hamilton said. “I hit a crappy one. That’s OK, it is what it is.”

After 15, Kannegieser was accepting all gifts.

“I knew he was going to have me up against the wall,” Kannegieser said. “He definitely gifted me one on 16 with that tee shot. When we got to 17, I knew it was anybody’s game.”

The duo made pars on the par-4 17th, and on the par-4 18th hole Kannegieser took driver and cranked up the fairway where he only had a wedge in.

Will Kannegieser reacts after finally getting a chance to sit down following 20 holes of golf during the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Kannegieser won the championship on a birdie putt in overtime on the 20th hole. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Driver is a club Kannegieser doesn’t use that often.

“I have been trying to take it out more recently. I probably hit driver six or seven times today,” Kannegieser said. “Like last year at Point Sebago, I hit it twice on a course where I could have hit it more. I think I had an initiative this summer to hit more drivers to see what that would do for me in competition. I think it paid off.”

Hamilton laid back on No. 18 and Kannegieser couldn’t take advantage with wedge in hand. Both had longe birdie opportunities but came up short. Kannegieser’s par putt gave him some info for the playoff as he drained it.

“The two putts I rolled in, on 18 and the second playoff hole were similar putts like break-wise,” Kannegieser said. “So, I felt confident if I hit similar putts, I can get them to go. I was lucky that they both went in.”

Joe Hamilton lines up a putt on the first hole during the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Joe Hamilton, left, and Will Kannegieser, right, pass each other on the 7th tee box during the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Will Kannegieser, left, reacts after sinking a putt on the 18th hole to keep the score tied with Joe Hamilton during the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Will Kannegieser reacts after a missed putt on the 7th green during the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Joe Hamilton looks to see where his ball landed after chipping onto the 6th green during the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Joe Hamilton hits out of the rough on the 5th hole during the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Will Kannegieser defended his title as the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Champion at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Joe Hamilton shares a laugh with Will Kannegieser, not pictured, during the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship at Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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