Seymour Comes Back to Defend Lee Stoddard Dolphin Open Title
17 Sep 2020 at 14:28 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 4115 | News search
Top 5 - Justin Seymour in center (Photo by Justin Pelletier)
Boothbay, Maine – It was supposed to be a big anniversary year for the Lee Stoddard Dolphin Open, celebrating 30 years of the Dolphin Mini Golf course, but COVID-19 had other plans. With the State of Maine having strict travel requirements, there was some concern about the ability of many players to make it to the tournament this year and it did impact some competitors travel plans. With that in mind, the organizers decided to switch the format of the tournament again, bringing it down to a one-day, eight round tournament to minimize required travel. » Final Results
As a result of the restrictions and some uncertainty as to the final play, the tournament was a small but very competitive group this year. It included three past winners and many other folks who have placed in the money over the years. They were all ready to take on the change weather of a beautiful late-summer day in Maine.
The morning rounds were a harbinger of how close the whole day was going to be among the competitors. After 3 rounds, 2016 winner Pat Sheridan was tied with Evan Goodkowsky and Mark “Highlighter” Novicki at 111, with only 3 strokes separating the pack back to 8th place. No one could seem to get much separation in the afternoon either with Goodkowsky and Novicki remaining tied after 6 rounds with a 221. Sheridan slipped slightly to 4th, 3 strokes back, as the 2019 winner Justin Seymour started his way up the leaderboard making it to 3rd and 2 strokes behind the leaders.
With a break for dinner and day turning to a cool night on the course, it set the table for some exciting final rounds under the lights. Novicki would squeak ahead after round 7, with a 1 stroke lead over Goodkowsky and Seymour, with Sheridan sitting 4 back. The tournament took an exciting turn at hole 4 in the final round where Seymour went back-to-back with aces there and hole 5, the same place he turned on the heat in 2019 to pull away from the competition. Novicki would slip a little and shortly the battle became about Goodkowsky and Seymour, who has snuck out to a one stroke lead. Goodkowsky would tie it up after an ace on hole 10 but then give it up with a 4 on the dreaded loop on hole 14. This hole did its fair share of damage to competitors in the final few rounds. However, it wasn’t all clear for Seymour as a two stroke lead dropped to one after a tough hole 17. With Goodkowsky having the honors on 18 and hitting his deuce, Seymour knew that a two would seal the win for him and did a great job of leaving the tee shot within a makeable 18 inches. He sank the putt for the 2020 win.
Behind him there was still a battle for third place. Sheridan and Novicki were tied going into 18 but Sheridan left his tee shot short and carded a 3, giving Novicki third place and putting him in a tie with John O’Leary for 4th. This would be solved per the tournament tradition of a sudden-death playoff starting on hole 15 (Bobbin’ Buoys), the least aceable hole on the course. Sheridan went into it with confidence, actually having aced it in the final round, and ended the playoff there with a tap-in two to O’Leary’s three. That would give O’Leary the final paying spot in this year’s tournament.
Justin Seymour playing the 7th round of the tournament
This tournament is also known for additional prizes, commonly $100 for the first ace on Bobbin Buoys and the $100 hole-in-one contest on the 18th hole after the tournament. This year would see no winner on the 18th hole but Randy Rice got the first ace on the Buoys. He also snagged the COVID-19 prize of toilet paper for getting the first score of 40 with a 20 on the front and 20 on the back. A final award of $20.20 of dimes was given to Eric Smith as the last place prize.
Randy Rice and his additional prizes
Dolphin Mini Golf expects to hold the tournament in 2021 to celebrate the 30th year of the course in year 31. More information will be provided in 2021 but tentative dates are will be Saturday/Sunday September 11 & 12, 2021.