MANCHESTER — A number of contenders emerged at the Charlie’s Maine Open on Tuesday, but the clear-cut winner was the Augusta Country Club course. The expected assault on the 6,350-yard, par 70 course never materialized as only nine in the field of 156 players were in red numbers.

“It shows the little course can still compete,” ACC teaching pro Pete Hatfield said. “It’s a feather in the cap for the little guy.”

Thick rough and fast greens accounted for relatively high scores, so did some tempting options like going for the green on the 280-yard, par 4 12th hole. According to director of operations and superintendent Chris Barnicoat, the 12th hole proved one of the most difficult on the course as many players went for the elevated green and either ended up out of bounds or in thick rough in front and around the green.

“I think our plan that we put in place is paying off,” Barnicoat said. “We just wanted the greens rolling really good and the rough is a bit of a challenge.”

That challenge also extended to the members who played, including 13-time Maine Amateur champion Mark Plummer.

“I never got comfortable on the greens,” said Plummer, who shot 74. “The greens are quicker than we’ve been playing all spring.”

The greens agreed with Jack Wyman, a 21-year-old from Falmouth, who will be a senior on the Endicott College golf team. Wyman finished with a 69 despite three-putting the 18th hole.

“The greens are rolling spectacular,” he said. “They’re the best greens I’ve seen here ever.”

• • •

The field was scheduled to be cut to the low 50 scores plus ties and enough Maine pros to make 10, and enough amateurs to make 20. But because of the cut rule, any players within 10 shots of the lead of 68 make the cut, meaning the 14 players who shot 78 will all play today.

A little over $41,000 will be paid to the pros with $9,000 going to the winner. It would have been $10,000 if the pro field were full. The field was a full 156 but amateurs made up the difference, including six out-of-state amateurs who were extended invitations.

The Maine State Golf Association staffed the tournament with 16 people including three volunteers.

“It’s the hardest tournament we run,” MSGA executive director Nancy Storey said. “Because these are professionals and they’re playing for money so this is a job.

“Normally my job is to make sure people have fun playing golf. Our job during the Maine Open is to make sure everything is done as professionally as possible. We don’t want to make any mistakes that will affect how much money they make.”

• • •

Stan Plummer, Sr., has been watching his son Mark Plummer for more than 40 years and was on hand during the front nine as Mark shot 2-over 37.

“He can hit the ball good off the tee, but he’s been putting poorly,” his father said. “And if you don’t putt you don’t score.”

The elder Plummer, 91, knows a little about scoring himself. He’s equaled his age or better well over 100 times.

“When I was in my 80s I was shooting my age,” he said. “One of the best rounds I ever had, I was 70 and I shot a 66 down in Florida.”

• • •

The Augusta Country Club was well represented in the tournament by eight members, as well as head pro DJ Jennings. The members included Plummer, Ryan Gay, Roger Williams II, Tom Bean, Jason Gall, Randy Blouin, Jason Macdonald and Bob Mathews who is also a pro. Gay, Bean and Williams each shot 72 while Plummer and Gall carded 74s.

• • •

Co-leader Jeremiah Shields, 29, plays out of Ottawa, Ontario at the Canadian Golf Club. He played college golf in the states on scholarship at Arkansas State and Louisiana State before transferring to the University of Ottawa.

Shields will play in as many tournaments as his job as a real estate appraiser and investor allows.

“I going to try to follow the Canadian Tour when it comes to the East coast of Canada later in the summer,” he said.

He took the last couple of years off, he said, and played “Calcutta’s and under the table kind of stuff just to keep my game sharp, but this is the first year I’ve really followed a tour.”

He carded five birdies including four on the back at 12, 14, 15 and 16.

• • •

Gay, the two-time defending Maine amateur champ, headed to the practice range after shooting 72.

“Nothing was really too sharp,” he said. “I just wanted to work on my game to get it ready for (today). I know that course pretty well. I guess I can turn it around.”

Gay got off to a poor start with a double bogey on the first hole after pulling his drive left under some trees. He chipped to the green but his ball fell into a depression.

“The same thing happened to me on 18,” he said. “It was just a couple of bad breaks. I didn’t play how I wanted to play but I’m still in it. You never know, it’s my home course. The opportunity for a good round is out there.”

Gay, who will be a senior this fall, transferred from the University of New Mexico this spring after three years on the golf team. He’s made a commitment to attend St. John’s University this fall and play golf.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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