Ricky Jones long ago established his credentials as one of the top golfers in state history. This week, Jones added to his golf resume, winning the Maine State Golf Association’s Dr. Leonardo Buck Player of the Year Award for a record 11th time.

Jones, who plays out of the Samoset Resort in Rockport, won the award with a strong July. The player of the year award is given annually to the player who accumulates the most points from August 1 to July 31. Points are awarded through results of play in MSGA events, with major tournaments worth more points. In July, Jones, 44, finished second in the Maine Amateur Championship and was the second low amateur at the Maine Open Championship.

Jones also won a weekend event at Prospect Hill, and going into the month’s final event at Bath Golf Club, trailed leader Andrew Slattery by just two points. Jones began July 239 points behind Slattery. A birdie on the 18th hole at Bath pushed Jones’ score in the tournament to 2-under, and pushed him past Slattery by three points for the player of the year title.

“I knew more than likely I needed to shoot two under if I was going to pass Andrew for player of the year,” Jones said in a MSGA release, “and that birdie got me there and ultimately was the deciding factor.”

By winning player of the year, Jones earned a spot on the Maine team in the Tri-State Matches, which pits the top amateur golfers from Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire against each other in a two-day, Ryder Cup-style event. Jones also will be a piece of a three-man team that will represent Maine at the USGA State Team Championship in September in Birmingham, Alabama. Joining Jones on Team Maine are Slattery and Jack Wyman.

A three-time winner of the Maine Am, Jones won his first Player of the Year in 2003. Jones took the honor four straight years, from 2010 through 2013, and also won it last year.

“This one was slightly different because it was unexpected. There is a tremendous amount of young talent in the state right now as well as some experienced veterans,” Jones said. “When you look at potential contenders at tournaments, the total number on the list seems to keep growing year after year.”

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Now in his sixth year as a pro, Waterville native Toby Spector said he hasn’t played much competitive golf this year, just a few qualifying tournaments and small events.

This week, Spector, who now lives in South Carolina, is playing in a tournament on the GPro Tour at Colonial Country Club in Thomasville, North Carolina. Spector had a tough second day of the tournament on Thursday, shooting 5-over to drop from seventh place to tied for 15th. On Wednesday, Spector was 1-under. A triple bogey on the par 4 seventh hole was the only major blemish on Spector’s Wednesday scorecard, which included just one other bogey along with five birdies.

“I’m putting great overall. Just fighting the tee ball at times. We dealt with wet long rough and firm fast greens, so overall I played solid,” Spector said via text message after his round Wednesday.

This week’s tournament is just the second GPro Tour event Spector has played in this year. He also played in a tournament at Forest Oaks Country Club in Greenboro, North Carolina. According to the GPro Tour web page, Spector played in nine tournaments in 2015 and 11 in 2014.

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Maine was well represented in the New England PGA Senior Championship, played Wednesday and Thursday at the Okemo Valley Golf Club in Ludlow, Vermont. Approximately a dozen Maine golfers were in the field of 79 players.

Jeff Seavey of Samoset was the best Maine finisher, tying for third place at 3-under, three strokes behind winner Ron Philo of Stowe, Vermont. Seavey was tied for ninth place and even through one round, but he shot 3-under on Thursday to move up the leaderboard.

John Hickson of Sebasco Harbor Resort was the other Mainer to earn a top 20 finish at the New England PGA Senior Championship, finishing tied for 19th at 6-over par.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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