This writer definitely has a hangover, but it is an enjoyable one. Just cannot stop thinking about the 127th U.S. Open held June 16-19 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

One reason for this feeling is a personal experience at The Country Club. In 2013, two Maine friends (fellow Thompson Lake residents, Jack Manning and Frank Papineau) and I played there with a member. Jack Manning had been the successful bidder on a Boston-area golf course package that included a round at The Country Club.

That was part of a promotion of the 2013 U.S. Amateur, held at The Country Club, which is a magnificent golf complex. The course is a bear to play, but the buildings and the overall beauty of the complex produced lasting memories, which became fresh in this writer’s mind over Father’s Day weekend.

Then there was the tournament itself, which was riveting. Matt Fitzpatrick won it, as the PGA Tour was brought to its knees by the golf course, which played extremely tough for professionals who are used to shooting under-par rounds in the low and mid-60s.

The U.S. Open courses traditionally are tough, with very fast greens, very deep roughs, and difficult angles for short-game shots. All of this prevailed in Brookline, along with strong winds.

To appreciate how testing this course was, simply review the final results. Fitzpatrick had the best four-day score of 68-68-70-68—274, which was just 6-under-par. That score would have won very few PGA Tour events in recent history, other than the Open.


Then consider that Tony Finau, Sergio Garcia, Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner, Tommy Fleetwood, Phil Mickelson and others did not make the cut. Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffle, Patrick Cantlay, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Sam Burns, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka and Bryson Dechambeau, among others, did not shoot under par.

Then there is the Maine angle. College golf star Caleb Manuel of Topsham, who qualified for the Open, averaged a little more than 70 shots per round this past spring at the University of Connecticut. But he posted 83-74—157 in the Open, which meant he did not come close to making the cut.

Another amazing statistic about this year’s U.S. Open is the fact that Fitzpatrick became only the second golfer to win the U.S. Amateur and the Open on the same golf course. Only Jack Nicklaus at Pebble Beach had done this previously — 1961 in the Amateur and 1972 in the Open. Any time a golfer is put into the company of Nicklaus, arguably the best golfer of all time, is extremely special.

Fitzpatrick won his first PGA Tour event and that usually pays a nice prize of somewhere around $2 million. The U.S. Open champion’s purse this year was $3,150,000. Not a bad payday for a first-time champ.

And get this, when Nicklaus won the 1972 Open at Pebble Beach, his prize was $30,000. Clearly, times have changed.



The Maine Event, formerly known as the men’s Maine Open, will be June 27-28 at Augusta. It is the most significant event on the Maine men’s golf tournament schedule.

Also on the Maine State Golf Association tournament slate are Men’s Play Days on July 1-2 at J.W. Parks, plus Women’s Play Days on June 28 at Bangor Municipal and Fairlawn.


Brian J. Bilodeau of Martindale was tied for sixth in the MSGA Player of the Year standings June 21, with 200 points. In the senior men’s standings, Dave Whitman of Norway was tied for ninth, with 45 points.

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his 10th season as Sun Journal golf columnist.

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