FALMOUTH — Mike Doran pulled out his lucky Srixon and shot a 2-under 68 to take the lead in the 92nd Maine Amateur on Tuesday on a blazing hot day at Portland Country Club.

Doran, a member at Sable Oaks in South Portland, used three birdies, a bogey and 14 pars to head into the second round a stroke ahead of defending champ Ryan Gay of Pittston and Jason Gall who both shot 69.

Doran had used the exact same ball in a tournament over the weekend at Lakewood Golf Course in Madison.

“I found it in my bag and thought it might have some mojo,” Doran said, who said has played Portland Country Club only three or so times. “I don’t know where the bad stuff is. Sometimes ignorance can be bliss.”

The field of 132 will be pared down to 40, including ties, after today for Thursday’s final round.

Doran, who is the junior coordinator for the Maine State Golf Association, bogeyed the sixth hole then birdied 10, 12 and 18 for the lead.

Gay, a two-time champ, led until Doran came in just after 3:30 p.m.

Gay, 20, birdied five holes and bogeyed four, including his final two of the afternoon.

He had a chance to eagle the 16th, a 510-yard par 5, when his approach shot landed about 12 feet from the cup.

But he birdied after taking two putts to finish. His first slid just wide of the lip, nearly darting in.

“I hit the left edge and it didn’t break,” Gay said. “It’s all about the greens out here. You have to be precise with these greens. My only putts for birdie were tap-ins.”

Gay won the Amateur in 2008 and 2010 and is attempting to be the first back-to-back winner since Ricky Jones in 2003 and 2004.

Gall, who is a member at Portland Country Club, bogeyed the first four holes but recovered with birdies on 8, 9, 10, 11 and 16.

“After the first four I felt like I didn’t have it,” Gall said. “I three-putted the first hole, hit the second in the trees, the third in the bunker and the fourth hooked over the green. I thought, ‘let’s get back to basics.’ “

Gay teed off at 7:30 a.m. with the first group of the day paired alongside Jones, the 2010 Mid-Am and two-time former Amateur champ, who finished a 4-over 74.

The two were joined by Maine Junior Champion Joe Walp, a recent qualifier for the USGA Junior Championship who finished with a 79.

Jones double bogeyed the third hole, and bogeyed two more.

“Tomorrow I’ll probably try to go for the pins,” he said. “My swing didn’t feel truly there.”

Mark Plummer, a veteran of the tournament and 13-time winner, finished a 4-over 74 and said he was impressed with the course and his younger competition.

“I feel like I’m intruding at a junior tournament,” Plummer joked. “The course was beautiful, in perfect shape, really the best I’ve ever seen it. I low-stepped the sixth and seventh (holes) and gave away three (strokes) but other than that I played well.”

As the day marched on, thunderstorms threatened to the east with a hazy sky hanging over the ocean in the distance, but never materialized.

Jason Harris and Kent St. James finished even to round out the top-5.


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