Stoddard rallies to win Maine State Dolphin Open

Posted:  Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 6:45am

It was a family affair at the 2017 Maine State Open Dolphin championship. The state’s only professional miniature golf championship saw Hall of Famer and course owner Lee Stoddard of Boothbay win the open division and his granddaughter, Addie Barter, 7, of Boothbay capture the junior division.

Stoddard has hosted the event for years, but had never competed in it. “We only had nine (this year) and the other competitors talked me into playing,” Stoddard said. Competitors included defending champion Pat Sheridan of Manchester, Connecticut. Sheridan is a touring pro who competed in this year’s U.S. Pro Mini-Golf Association’s Masters and U.S. Open. Sheridan has toured the mini golf circuit since 2002. In this year’s Masters, he just missed finishing in the money, Sheridan said.

Sheridan was well on his way to winning his second consecutive Dolphin Open by establishing a six-stroke lead over Mark “The Highlighter” Novicki of East Hartford, Connecticut and 11 shots better than Stoddard after three of the eight championship rounds. Stoddard made his move in rounds 4-6 by erasing the 11-shot deficit. Stoddard and Sheridan entered the final two rounds tied at 207. Stoddard continued his momentum in the last two rounds and finished the tournament at 278, six shots better than Sheridan.

The tournament paid $300 to the winner. Sheridan collected $200 for second. John O’Leary of Connecticut finished third and earned $100. Randy Rice of New York finished fourth and Novicki, who also travels the professional mini golf circuit, finished fifth. They each won $50.

Barter won the junior division with a two-round score of 113. This is the fourth time she’s played in the tournament. Last year, she was runner-up. Barter also competed in the open division for the first time. She scored a 409.  She has played mini golf since age 2. Barter has also received advice from her grandfather about putting and competing in a mini golf tournament.

“He tells me it’s important to keep trying,” she said.

In the senior division, Arthur Richardson won with a two-round score of 76. The Dolphin Open had six out-of-state competitors in the professional division. New York and Connecticut each had three competitors in the field.