POLAND — The toughest competitor at Fairlawn Golf Course on Thursday for the final round of the Maine Junior Golf Championship was the rain that came in as the early groups were making the turn and the final groups were just teeing off.

It made playing catch-up even more difficult than usual, and each first-round leader held on for victory.

Sisters Ruby and Jade Haylock, of Hartford, didn’t have to sweat much in their respective group victories. Jade got off to a rough start to her second round in the Girls 13-15 group, but she said played better on the back nine, which coincidentally was when she had to start competing with the rain.

“I play in the rain quite often. I mean, it’s something that I do well in,” Jade Haylock said. “I don’t have a problem with the rain.”

She followed up her first-round 83 with an 11-over 84 in Thursday’s final round to beat runner-up Alexis McCormick, her friend and future Leavitt Area High School teammate.

Two groups later, Ruby Haylock finished up her win in the Girls 16-18 group with a nine-shot victory over friend and former Leavitt teammate Morghan Dutil. Haylock wasn’t thrilled with her two-day score of 6-over 152, which included a 5-over 78 Thursday, with half of that coming in the rain.

“The greens, I had a harder time reading the speed of them. They tended to be a little bit slower, and then as the rain died off they started getting a little bit more consistent,” Haylock, the 2020 Maine Women’s Amateur champion and was the runner-up this year, said. “But it’s hard when everything’s wet and you’re trying to stay dry yourself.”

Haylock’s mood brightened when talking about getting to play another round with Dutil, who will be playing at Husson University this fall.

“I love playing with Morghan,” said Haylock, who shared the 2019 MPA state title with Dutil in 2019 and won the 2020 Class B championship. “We haven’t played together too much this year, we did men’s league together last year. So that kind of kept us humble with each other, and being able to play together was really nice. It’s always fun playing with her and we have a lot of fun when we’re out on the course together.”

Haylock, the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Sun Journal All-Region Golfer of the Year, also enjoyed playing with the third member of her group, Ruth Weeks of Cumberland, who finished third with a 166.

“I have fun no matter who I’m playing with, but when you know the girls — Ruth and Morghan are both great people, and we always go out, we have fun together, we’re cracking jokes the whole time, and Morghan and I do a little bit of picking on each other here and there,” Haylock said. “So it definitely keeps things light and easy.”

Dutil made her comeback attempt against Haylock even difficult early in the second round when she hit her first shot on hole No. 1 into a hazard and three-putted each of the first three holes. After that it was just about focusing on each shot the rest of the way — and enjoying a round with her friend that won’t come as often as it used to.

“We’ve been playing together since we were kids, so it’s always nice to be able to play in a tournament like this with her,” Dutil said.

Kellen Adickes tried to focus on one shot at a time in his own comeback attempt in the Boys 14-15 group, but he couldn’t completely erase the six-shot deficit he faced against first-round leader and eventual champion Eli Spaulding of Freeport.

“I don’t feel like I ran out of holes, I know it was just a lack of concentration after the conditions changed,” Adickes, of Bristol and Lincoln Academy, said. “Just trying to keep the momentum going after, especially, a pause (on the back nine to wait to hit a shot). In the rough conditions, it was still not impossible, but it was definitely more difficult to be able to do it.”

“I was very, very happy, especially being able to get five of the shots out of the six that I was down (at one point),” added Adickes, who finished two shots back. “You just look back on that and it gives you confidence into future events knowing that you can string together good holes and make a run, and be able to score well in future events.”

Spaulding built his big lead in the first round by being aggressive. He realized early in the second round that game plan wasn’t going to work. He double-bogeyed the second hole and hit bogeys on Nos. 5 and 7, but finished his tournament with 11 consecutive pars for a two-day score of 3-under 141.

“I started to feel comfortable once I started to hit more greens in regulation. I was finding more fairways and my iron shots really were starting to look more like what they did yesterday,” Spaulding said. “And I was hitting these greens, and my putting began to get better and I was going for the two-putt. I was trying to make pars and stay away from those bogeys.”

Parker Hilchey also stopped playing for birdies and instead focused on making pars to win the Boys 16-18 group title.

The St. George native entered Thursday with a four-shot lead over Connor Albert of North Yarmouth, but Albert got within two shots on the back nine. Hilchey closed with a birdie on No. 17 and a par on No. 18 for a 3-over 147 and a three-shot victory.

“Finishing strong was awesome,” Hilchey said. “I knew I had to do it because I knew Connor was going to do great. And birdieing 17, that kind of got me over the hill and realizing I was going to be able to win this.”

Neil LaRochelle of Lisbon was also in the final group, but an 81 in the second round dropped him to 11th place for the tournament.

Joe Hansen won the Boys 12-13 group, Drew Mertzel won the Boys 11 & Under group, and Niamh O’Brien won the Girls 13 & Under group.

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