Mark Plummer has mellowed after playing competitive golf for nearly 50 years. The 13-time Maine Amateur champion had quite a temper in his younger years. Some may recall the infamous photo in Kennebec Journal of Plummer sitting on a bench during the Maine Amateur with his recently broken putter stuck into the ground beside him.

Most attributed Plummer’s temper to his bright red hair, but he came by it quite naturally. His father, Stan, was just as competitive on the golf course, and like his son, just as gracious off it. Stan passed away recently at the age of 92, a little more than a day after keeping score and driving the golf cart for Mark and his Saturday morning foursome at the Augusta Country Club.

A past president and board member at Augusta, Stan played golf until a couple of years ago and had shot his age or better more than 100 times. Mark inherited his father’s competitive spirit among other traits.

“He had a temper like I do,” Mark said.

Coincidentally, it was a broken club that got Mark started in the game.

“(My father) broke his 4-iron when I was 4 years old,” Mark said. “Rather than get it fixed, he put a grip on it and gave it to me.”

Plummer went on to a storied amateur career that included a shot at the PGA Tour in the mid-’70s. He won the first of several club championships at Augusta in 1969.

A year later, Stan won, and a couple of years after that, he and Mark squared off in the finals with Mark winning. Stan won six club titles in all and as president and board member helped oversee the installation of an irrigation system at Augusta. He was also on the board when it hired Pete Hatfield as golf pro.

“He was a real gentleman,” Hatfield said. “A great family man. He was just a great guy. In later years when he gave up playing he caddied for us. He enjoyed that so much.”

Stan played many years in the Maine State Golf Association’s Father/Son championship with all three of his sons — Mark, Steve and Stan Jr. — winning it six times. He played in the final one at age 86.

“I think he won with all three of us,” Mark said. “That was the big event of the season when I was young.”

* * *

Another Augusta Country Club luminary, Myra Finnemore, passed away recently at age 74. Finnemore was active in women’s golf and was the first woman on the board of directors at Augusta. She was instrumental in getting women on equal footing with men on the golf course.

“Back then there were restrictions on females playing on certain days,” Hatfield said. “They couldn’t play until 1 in the afternoon on Saturdays.”

That changed, Hatfield said, in part because of the efforts of Finnemore, the board of directors and general manager Al Biondi.

Hatfield won a couple of Pro/Lady championships with Finnemore but more than anything recalled her infectious personality.

“She was fun to be with,” he said. “She was a good laugh all the time. And she was good at getting gals into the game.”

* * *

Sugarloaf opened Friday under cloudy skies and the threat of weekend rain. Pro Steve Niezgoda, who is taking over for Abby Spector, who left for a position at Dunegrass, is expected to report next week. The new irrigation system installed last year is expected to be completed in another week or so. The course made it through the winter in great shape, according to general manager John Debiase.

“I’ve been here since it opened in ’85,” Debiase said. “This is probably as good as I’ve seen it easily in the past five years.”

Junior golfers around the state have traveled long distances in the past to play in American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournaments around the country. They’re rarely held in New England and until this year, there’s never been one in Maine. The first one in the state will be held at Sugarloaf on July 28-31.

DeBiase said an event at a Boyne course, the company that leases Sugarloaf, attracted the attention of the AJGA and they checked out the course.

“They were very excited and signed a contract in late fall,” Debiase said.

The contract is for three years and the tournament attracts some of the best golfers age 12-18 from around the country. Golfers can qualify through previous events or on Sunday, July 28, at Sugarloaf. The qualifying field of 144 is already full for 10 available qualifying spots.

* * *

The Augusta Country Club team of Mark Plummer, Tom Bean, Ryan Gay and Jason Gall won the Club Team Championship last Sunday at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club. The win was the third in a row for an ACC team and the sixth overall. Jim Quinn has participated on several of the winning teams but was away in Ireland and replaced by Gay, a three-time Maine Amateur champ.

“It’s the first (MSGA) tournament of the year,” Plummer said. “It’s nice to win the first one and get the season off to a good start.”

The team shot nine-under 133 in the 18-hole, best two of four ball tournament, beating a Falmouth Country Club team by one stroke.

“We didn’t have a bogey which is pretty hard to do when you have to use two scores on every hole,” Plummer said.

The Waterville Country club team of Bob Roy, Dan Proulx, Garry Willett and Jim Lucas posted a low senior score of 142.

Chip shots: After several weeks of dry weather, the state got hit with rain most of the week. Natanis GC in Vassalboro, though, managed to get in a couple of private tournaments. The course is holding a Memorial Day tournament through the weekend for a $5 entry fee, but as general manager Rob Browne points out “mostly we’re just trying to stay dry.” Natanis will host the MSGA’s Father/Son tournament on June 9 . . . Sugarloaf will host its annual Tin Mountain Roundup on June 7-9. Golfers can play an 18-hole round for $40 with cart by bringing three cans of food which will be donated to a local food pantry . . . The WMSGA will host the annual Tri-State tournament at Natanis June 19-20 and the Metropolitan at Waterville CC on June 24-25 . . . The MSGA’s weekly tournament scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Lakewood was postponed due to poor weather.

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

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