AUBURN — Even though he loves golfing in inclement weather, Luke Ruffing has had better days on the golf course than he did Tuesday at the start of the Match Play Championship tournament.

“It’s the worst weather I’ve ever played in, and I’ve played in some pretty bad weather,” Ruffing said.

Ruffing’s had worse days in the clubhouse after playing in that bad weather, though.

Ruffing, from Manchester and Belgrade Lakes Country Club, survived a day of soaking rain, high winds and a lot of frustration off the tee at Martindale Country Club in Auburn to advance to the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

“I’m just glad it was match play and not stroke play,” he said.

Ruffing, who is seeded 11th, beat Biddeford-Saco Country Club’s Keith Patterson II, 1 up, in a tense round-of-32, then knocked off Gary Manoogian of Falmouth, 2 up, in another match that went down to the last hole.

Ruffing was tied with Patterson going to the par-5 18th and was 1 up on Manoogian going into their final hole. Each time, he put his tee shot into the woods while his opponents stayed in the fairway. Each time, he bailed himself out with his short game and escaped with par.

“My short game was excellent today. I’m very pleased with that,” he said. “The weather wasn’t too much of a factor for ball-striking. I just couldn’t get the ball started on-line.”

Ruffing will face Brian Angis in Wednesday’s last quarterfinal, which is scheduled to tee off at 7:30 a.m. Angis defeated defending champion Ricky Jones, 2 and 1, in the round of 16.

The tournament, which the Maine State Golf Association revived in 2010 after a long hiatus, invites the top 32 golfers in the state annually to compete.

Ruffing reached the semifinals at Fox Ridge in Auburn in 2013. Last year, he lost in the second round at Sable Oaks in South Portland.

Ruffing, who has not met or played with Angis before, enjoys the head-to-head aspects of match play and, despite his troubles off the tee Tuesday, wouldn’t mind if the weather pattern holds another day.

“Oh it can pour again,” he said. “I’m fine with this stuff. I love playing in bad weather.”

In other round of 16 matches, Mark Plummer of Manchester and Matt Greenleaf needed 19 holes before Greenleaf, who won the tournament in 2013, could put away the 13-time Maine Amateur champion.

John Hayes IV, who won the Maine Amateur last month and was the 2012 match play champion, beat 2010 champion Joe Alvarez, 5 and 4. Andrew Slattery, the 2014 Maine Amateur winner and a Martindale member, defeated Joe Baker, 4 and 3.

Jeff Cole defeated Augusta’s Tom Bean, 5 and 3, to advance, Sam Grindle won the 18th hole of his matchup with Ryan Wingard to move on, 2 up. Joe Walp rallied after being two down through the first two holes to defeat Ashley Fifield, 2 and 1.

The quarterfinals will start at 7 a.m. on Wednesday with Hayes squaring off against Slattery, followed at 7:10 by Grindle vs. Walp, then Greenleaf vs. Cole at 7:20.

Play will continue in the afternoon with the semifinals. The championship match will be played Thursday.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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