FALMOUTH, Maine – The Falmouth Country Club is usually a quiet place where the members of this private club rarely fill the parking lots. On this day cars line the road around the course and shuttle carts carry their drivers and passengers to the club house and the various registration tables. It’s Pro-Am Day for the “Live and Work in Maine Open” a new stop on the Korn Ferry PGA Tour.
This is a chance for Maine golfers to get a look at some of the pros who will one day be on the PGA Tour. While a look at these young stars is important, a couple of local favorites would draw the biggest galleries the first two days. Shawn Warren a teaching pro at Falmouth Country Club has been winning tournaments in Maine and New England since his high school days and has actually qualified and played in the PGA Championship. Playing in the same three some will be a newcomer. Caleb Manuel has just finished his first year at UConn and at 19 was the youngest player in the field, playing as an amateur after qualifying.
The local fans were disappointed when Manuel played himself out of any contention with a string of bogeys and doubles on the front nine. Warren calmed him down and he played well on the back nine but not enough to make all the dropped strokes, finishing with a 14 over 85. The crowd was rewarded when Warren birdied his final hole to go two under. Day two was better for Manuel as he came close to par, but Warren’s two over dropped his total to even and he missed the cut at 2-under.
With the two locals out, the crowd still filed the stands and there was plenty of activity around the course and in the hospitality tents along the way. They wanted to see how these long hitting young pros could handle their course which had been lengthened by 500 yards for the event. They got their answer from Char Ramey of Mississippi who took home the victory at 16-under. Joshua Creel of Wyoming grabbed second at 15-under with Georgia’s Seth Reeves at 3rd at 14-under. Six more were at 13-under and most of the field finished at par or better. The “Live and Work in Maine Open” was a success in every way. The designated charity, The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center, received more than the goal of $100,000. local golf fans were treated to some superb play and the winner will get his PGA Tour card for the 2021-22 season.
An interesting foot note is that the PGA Tour was also in New England as the Travelers Tournament was being played in Hartford. There were some interesting contrasts. The Falmouth course played at 7326 yards, par 71 while the Travelers is one of the shortest on the PGA Tour, 6841, pat 70. Scoring was similar with the PGA winning score minus 13. Harris English won after 8 playoff holes, but the big winner might have been Kramer Hickok who took home second place money seeking his first tour win. No one knew who he was before the event, but now he is well known and his second place money of $806,000 was more then the total purse of the Maine event. Ramey won $108.000 and English $1,332,000. Obviously, Ramey’s card for next year can be worth far more than the money he won in Maine.
Having the two tours in New England inspired these comparisons. We know how good the PGA tour players are and we now know that the guys trying to get on the big tour have plenty of talent as well. This was the first of five “Live and Work in Maine Opens”, but next year, Chad Ramey will probably be in Hartford, playing for a lot more money.