Ruby Haylock, right, receives a hug from sister Jade after Ruby won the Maine Women’s Amateur in a playoff at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester in July. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Editor’s note: Obviously, the biggest sports story of 2020 in the Sun Journal’s coverage area was the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. For our year in review, we decided instead to count down the other top stories of the year.

In 2018, Hartford’s Ruby Haylock burst on the Maine women’s amateur golf scene as a 13-year-old, as she fired a 5-over 78 in the second round of the Maine Women’s Amateur at Rockland Golf Club.

She finished finished tied for fourth that year.

Two years later, she was the toast of the Maine women’s amateur golf scene after capturing the top prize of women’s golf in Main, winning the Women’s Amateur by holding off Bailey Plourde on the first extra hole.

For a teenager, Haylock kept her composure after letting a four-shot lead with three holes to play slip away. She had built up a lead on the back nine at Augusta Country Club in Manchester.

“After I finish nine holes,” Haylock said after the tournament, “I like to say to myself: ‘Hey, you have nine more, you are all set, just keep going, you can make (a deficit up) or keep it together and you will be fine.’ So, after 18, I just said to myself, this is a new nine, you have to get yourself back together and finish the best you can.”

How she won the tournament was impressive in itself, as she came up short on her approach shot on the par-4 10th hole, which served as the first playoff hole. She was just off the putting surface and in the gallery were her parents, Harry and Heidi, who have been instrumental in Ruby’s golf career. Ruby did what any normal 15-year-old would do, defy her parents by taking out her 56-degree wedge for the birdie chip.

Sometimes, parents don’t know what they are talking about.

“Well I used my 56-degree wedge,” Haylock said after the tournament. “My parents told me after: ‘We saw you pull that club out of the bag and said what the heck are you doing? That’s not smart at all,’ and then they saw me make it.”

The ball bounced twice and rolled into the hole.

Plourde, who won the 2018 event, had a birdie putt to force a second playoff hole come up just short.

“I was excited, but I am pretty good at controlling everything,” Haylock said. “I did not want to go to crazy. Bailey still had to make her putt, I wasn’t sure what she was going to do. She’s pretty good under pressure. I wasn’t completely doubting she would miss it, but I kept myself together until the very end.”

It was a wide range of emotions for Plourde on that final playoff hole to see her friend make that birdie chip.

“I think it was a mix of emotions,” Plourde said after tournament. “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.”

The Women’s Amateur was only one of the highlights of Haylock’s golf season, as she help Leavitt win the KVAC championship for the second straight year. Haylock won the Maine Principles Association’s Class B girls golf championship  the first time the girls’ individual championship was decided by class instead of one overall championship  after being being a co-champion in 2019 with teammate Morghan Dutil. She was also named the Sun Journal All-Region Golfer of the Year. It was her third all-region player of the year honors after also being selected in 2019 and 2018.

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