STOWE — Rutland Country Club golfer Garren Poirier could finally take a deep breath Thursday, when the final leaderboard was posted at Stowe Golf Club.
Poirier had just completed a dominant run in the 2020 Vermont Amateur Golf Championship, securing his first title the event with a 15-under score.
“It felt amazing,” Poirier said on Monday. “It was a crazy weight off my shoulders.”
Poirier has done almost everything there is to do in amateur golf in New England. Just last year, he picked up his fifth Vermont Mid-Amateur title and he was a third-place finisher in the New England Amateur.
There was a box that still needed to be checked.
After last week’s effort, the ink is drying on that check mark.
“I’ve come so close multiple times,” said Poirier, who was previously a two-time runner-up in the Vermont Amateur. “It felt great to win it this year.”
Poirier was in second place heading into the second round last Wednesday, but came out of cut day with a four-stroke lead over Mount Anthony Country Club’s Cory Jozefiak.
During that round, he shot 8-under and sunk nine birdies.
Poirier extended his lead by two strokes in the third round, before Jozefiak shot a 67 in the final round to just miss out on forcing a tie.
“I had built up a pretty good lead, but I knew Cory would make a run,” Poirier said. “I knew he would birdie a lot of those holes down the stretch.”
Moving to Killington in 2003, Poirier got back into competitive golf in 2006, and eventually joined Rutland Country Club in 2011. Since then, he’s been one of the top guys for a club that continues to produce talented golfers.
“It all starts with the history (Rutland Country Club) has, starting with Thomas Pierce (the 7-time winner of the Vermont Amateur from RCC),” Poirier said. “It’s an awesome environment. They are so supportive of what we do.”
Poirier’s win kept the Vermont Amateur title in Rutland County. Club teammate Drake Hull had won the tournament the three years previous.
Hull didn’t compete this year, but RCC showed up in a big way, just as it always does when the annual July tournament rolls around. Behind Poirier’s win, Jared Nelson finished third, while Max Major and Logan Broyles both finished in the top 10 as well.
Frankie Sanborn finished in a tie for 20th. When it came to the McCullough Cup, which is given to the club that has the best top-four team score, Rutland ran away with it.
“It’s a club that just gets it,” Poirier said. “It’s awesome to play with those guys every day. We have great competition that makes us all better.”
This year’s tournament was unlike any other, given the current world situation.
The fact that the tournament went off as well as it did is a testament to those who put it together.
“Stowe Golf Club and the (Vermont Golf Association) did an awesome job,” Poirier said. “Being able to put together the tournament during this COVID nightmare and to make it safe was a hard task and they did it well. Everyone’s support has been amazing.”