FALMOUTH — Ryan Gay struggled to find the fairway Wednesday, yet still topped the leaderboard at the 92nd Maine Amateur heading into today’s final at Portland Country Club with some remarkable recovery shots.

The 20-year-old college player from Pittston and defending champ shot a 1-under 69 for the second straight day to take a three-shot lead with a 2-under 138. Jason Gall is second, and Jason J.J. Harris of Bath is four strokes behind.

The field was cut at 153 down to 45 golfers after a downpour delayed the last several groups.

Gay didn’t hit a single fairway Wednesday and bogeyed six holes, but birdied seven on his way to an entertaining round.

He recovered on shots off the tee that put him in the rough, into the knee-high fescue on 13, even when his ball stayed barely inbounds on the 10th hole forcing him to use his putter to jam it back through the trees.

“I hit one fairway but it was the wrong one,” joked Gay, who will be a junior at the University of New Mexico in the fall. “I seriously didn’t hit one. I don’t know my swing was off on the first tee … If I can hit the ball in play I’ll be in good shape (today.)”

Gay will tee-off around 10 a.m. with Gall and Harris.

Gay hit into the 12th fairway on the 13th hole, chipped the ball over the tree-line and into the fescue behind the pin, yet bogeyed to save his 1-under.

“I couldn’t take a swing with a wedge so I putted it out onto the fairway,” Gay said. “You never want to make double (bogey’s).”

Gay has a 3-shot lead over Gall who shot a 2-over 72 to finish with a two-day 1-over 141.

Gall birdied 4, 7 and 15, and bogeyed 1, 8, 10, 17, and 18.

“I’ll take it because I didn’t have it today,” Gall said.

Harris, a former Morse High School golfer who will be a junior at Johnson and Wales in Miami, Fla. held onto third place with a 2-over 72 to add to his 70 on Tuesday.

Harris birdied his first two holes, then bogeyed 4, 9, 11, 13, and 17.

“Putting got to me today,” Harris said. “The greens are kind of tough. I wasn’t real pleased and was looking to not go over par.”

Mike Doran, who held the lead after Day 1 with a 68, shot a 75 Wednesday and dropped into fourth position with a 143.

He was plus-3 on the front nine, then double-bogeyed the 15th hole before his day was out.

“I wasn’t hitting my wedges,” said Doran, the junior coordinator for the Maine State Golf Association. “I bogeyed 2 and 3 which got me off to a slow start. Then hit into the 18th fairway on 16 for the second day straight. It’s cost me two shots over the two days.”

Four groups got caught in a downpour just around 6 p.m. and were called off the course for lightning delays.

Some, who were nowhere near the cut, opted to leave during the rains, while others waited it out.

Gay was the youngest player to ever win the Maine Amateur in 2008 at 17 and won again last summer at age 19.

 


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