If you’re going to get advice on playing the Maine Amateur Golf Championship, there’s no better tutor than Mark Plummer. The Augusta Country Club-based Plummer has won the tournament a record 13 times, and when his great-nephew Dylan Burton qualified for this year’s Maine Am, Plummer kept his advice simple.

“I saw (Plummer) at dinner the other day, and he said to just go out and have fun and to play my game,” Burton, a recent Messalonskee High School graduate, said.

The 97th Maine Amateur Championship begins Tuesday morning at the York Golf and Tennis Club and will conclude with the final round Thursday. One hundred thirty-two players are set for the first two rounds, with the top 40 and ties advancing to Thursday’s final round. The tournament is stroke play.

Although the York Golf and Tennis Club is one of the state’s oldest courses, this is just the second time the club has hosted the Maine Am — the first came in 1978.

Like Waterville Country Club, which hosted the Maine Am last year, York is not a particularly long course, coming in at 6,254 yards. That does not mean the course does not present challenges.

“There’s a lot of elevation change. There’s a lot of blind shots off the tee,” said Burton, who played a practice round on the course Saturday. “It’s not very demanding in length.”

Added Waterville Country Club’s Kevin Byrne: “The greens are undulated. You’ll need to make some (tough) putts… It’s a pretty course. It’s in fantastic shape.”

Defending champion John Hayes IV is scheduled to tee off in Tuesday’s first group at 7 a.m. Joining Hayes in the first group are defending Senior Amateur champ Gary Manoogian and Mid-Amateur champ Mike Doran. Other past winners in the field include Plummer, who was runner up to Hayes last year, Andrew Slattery and Ricky Jones. Hayes, Plummer, Slattery and Jones are the only winners since 2000 to still maintain amateur status.

Although this is his first Maine Am, Burton said he thinks he was more nervous playing in the qualifying tournament last month at Penobscot Valley Country Club.

“It’s exciting to make it to where I always wanted to play, the Maine Am,” Burton said.

For Byrne, who has played a handful of Maine Am tournaments, the nerves dissipate, but never fade completely.

“When I was a little younger, I was more nervous. As you play, the nerves settle down, but they’re definitely still there,” Byrne said.

In the first two rounds, Byrne will play in a group with Curtis Jordan and Jason Gall, two perennial contenders. They’ll be just behind Plummer, Slattery and Joe Walp while just ahead of Jones, Ashley Fifield and Gavin Dugas. Those three strong groups tee off back-to-back-to-back beginning at 10:50 a.m. Tuesday.

Plummer and Burton are just one of the family connections playing in the Maine Am. Gavin Dugas is joined by his younger brother, Eric Dugas. Two sets of fathers and sons are scheduled to play — Jim and Mike Caron; and Tim and Ben Estabrook. Tucker Buteau and his uncle, Tobey Buteau, are another family connection in the field.

The oldest player in the tournament is 70-year old Lowell Watson. The youngest is 15-year old Austin Legge.

For Byrne, the goal is the same as last year, when he played on his home course at Waterville Country Club: Make it to the final round and remain exempt from qualifying tournaments.

“Low 70s each day would be good, if I can do that,” Byrne said.

Burton would like to play well enough to ensure his first Maine Am experience doesn’t end after two days.

“My main goal is to shoot in the mid or low 70s, make the cut and maybe contend,” Burton said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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