MANCHESTER — Ryan Gay played well in the first round of Charlie’s Maine Open, but the golf pro from Pittston felt he could’ve played better.

“I struggled out there for a while. I just didn’t get anything to fall,” Gay said.

As critical of his round as he was, Gay still was 1-under par, shooting a 69 and continuing the run of solid play he’s enjoyed recently.

Heading into Tuesday’s final round, Gay is three strokes behind leaders Jason Thresher, Ted Brown and Joshua Eure, who each shot 66.

Last year, Gay finished one over in the Maine Open, 10 shots behind winner Matt Campbell.

“I’ve been playing better as of recently. Today it didn’t really show it, but I got a round under par. It will take a low one (Tuesday), but maybe I have a chance,” Gay said.

Gay was even through nine holes, and birdies on Nos. 10 and 12 got him to 2-under, but he felt he let some strokes slip away over the final three holes. On 16, he came up just short of the green and had to settle for par. Gay lost a stroke with a bogey on 17, with a tee shot into the weeds, he said.

“Eighteen should be a good birdie opportunity and I had to make an eight-footer for par,” Gay said. “If I could have capitalized on some shots coming down the stretch, then it would’ve been a decent round, but I didn’t really capitalize on much out there.”

Augusta Country Club is Gay’s home course. On Monday, Gay liked the way the familiar holes played.

“The greens are pretty bouncy. They’re faster than they usually are. The last few years, this place has played soft. It’s playing firmer this year,” Gay said.

His own criticism aside, it’s been a good season for Gay, who went pro after winning three Maine Amateur titles, in 2008, 2010 and 2011. On Saturday, Gay finished the Greater Bangor Open tied for 13th place, 3-under par.

“I’ve been ball striking pretty good, not so much today. I’ve just got to make more putts. That seems to be always the case. You can always make more putts,” Gay said.

In June, Gay played the Cape Cod Open, and while he finished 10 shots behind the winner, his 5-under 66 in the second round was one of the better rounds of the tournament. Next Monday, Gay plans on playing a qualifying tournament for the Travelers Championship at Ellington Ridge Country Club in Connecticut.

“This would be a good week to get it going,” Gay said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM