It is All Highlights at the Taber's Fall Classic
14 Oct 2020 at 13:40 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 1666 | News search
Highlighter watches Ban Brochu putt on Hole 8 (Photo by Justin Pelletier)
AUBURN, Maine — Mark Novicki planned his trip to Myrtle Beach to compete in the US ProMiniGolf Association Masters tournament like he always did: He'd drive from his Connecticut home, crash on his grandparents' spare bed on their patio, and play competitive mini golf. » Recap Video
But, 2020 has been far from normal for many people, and fewer than two weeks before the start of the Masters, it delivered another jolt to Novicki: His grandfather passed away.
"He's the sole reason for my passion and love of competing in mini golf tournaments and growing up throughout my childhood, him knowing that's all I wanted to do every time we went (down) on vacation growing up," Novicki wrote on his Facebook page.
"I'm still in shock, the fact that I talked to him not even two weeks ago letting him know I'll be down to see them," Novicki wrote.
The news of his grandfather's passing, coupled with the uncertainty of receiving a COVID-19 test when he returned to Connecticut from South Carolina just so he could return to work, forced Novicki to look in another direction: North, to Auburn, Maine, and the inaugural Tabers Fall Classic presented by 105.5 WIGY.
With memories of his grandfather weighing on his mind, Novicki, known as "Highlighter" in mini golf circles, overcame a tough first round, fired the low round of the tourney in Round 2 and held off a fierce comeback attempt in the third and final round to earn a win in the inaugural Tabers Fall Classic presented by 105.5 WIGY at Tabers Lakeside Stand and Golf Center.
"Tough day, but definitely ground it out for him, and let's just say the two of us did it!!!!" Novicki wrote.
The Highlighter delivered the highlights.
Holding a four-shot advantage heading into the final round, Highlighter played the front nine in 19, including an ace on the ninth hole, to maintain a four-shot lead over Pat Sheridan, who also carded a 19 on the front.
Sean Boulanger and Dan Brochu, a pair of local players, fell back a bit with a 21 and a 22, respectively.
Highlighter slipped a bit to begin the back nine, and made three 3s and a 4 over the next five holes. Meanwhile, Brochu was warming up another charge to the top.
The Tabers Fall League champion and Summer League runner-up, Brochu closed the second round with three aces over four holes to pull into a tie for second.
He did it again in the final round, carding aces on 15, 16 and 17 to shoot a back-nine 18, putting the pressure on the leader.
But Highlighter stayed strong. He rolled in an ace on 15 to match Brochu, and carded 2s on 16, 17 and 18 to hold on for a three-stroke victory.
Sheridan fell off the lead pace on the rigorous 13th hole, taking the maximum score of six, but still shot a final-round 42 after a 2-1-2-2-2 finish to finish tied for third with Justin Seymour. Sheridan aced the first playoff hole (No. 1), to earn third place. It was his third ace on the hole in four tries on the day.
Following Seymour in fifth place was Boulanger. Back-to-back 41s in the first two rounds had positioned him in the lead group, but a pair of 4s in the final round led to a 43.
Justin Pelletier rallied for a sixth-place finish with a back-nine 18 in the final round. After a second-best 39 in the opening round, Pelletier struggled to a 46 in Round 2, which left him in ninth position. A 41 in the third round moved him into the money.
Jon Mercier finished in seventh, while first-round leader Matt Liles won a playoff against Jordy Knoren for the final money position. Knoren placed ninth, while Tabers regulars Nathan Fournier and Ken Daigle tied for 10th.
Brochu earned the Pedro O'Hara's prize for most holes-in-one with his nine aces, and also won the Fran's Restaurant prize as the best Tabers League finisher.
In addition to the $300 first prize and golf medal, Highlighter also earned the Break Coffee Shop "Leader at the Break" prize as the second-round leader, the Dubois Cafe prize for the best single round of 18 holes, and the Putting Penguin prize pack for winning a weeklong social media contest.
Melissa Patrie won the Little Joe's prize for best female finisher, and Matt Liles earned the other Break Coffee Shop "Leader at the Break" prize for his first-round 38.
Thank you to Justin Pelletier and the Maine Mini Golf Tour for providing this article.
» Final Results
» Maine Mini Golf Tour