BRUNSWICK — Mark Plummer played his first Maine Amateur golf championship in 1966. He’s missed a few tournaments over the years, but not many, and after finishing Wednesday’s second round at the Brunswick Golf Club, Plummer guessed he’s played in 46 or 47 Maine Ams.

In his near 50 tournaments, Plummer has a record 13 titles. The Maine State Golf Association could rename the Maine Am the Mark Plummer Amateur Championship, and nobody would as much shrug. With a two-day, 12-over par score of 156, however, 65-year old Plummer missed the cut. It was just two years ago at Waterville Country Club that Plummer played in the final group on the final day, but when the most decorated player in the tournament’s history misses the cut, the gap between the young up-and-coming players and the veterans feels wider than ever.

“Some of them weren’t even born when I won my last one, I don’t think,” Plummer, who won his 13th Maine Am in 2002, said.

Plummer used hyperbole, but he actually wasn’t far from the truth. Reese McFarlane was 12 when he played his first Maine Am. Now a member of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington golf team, McFarlane turns 20 next week and is a Maine Am veteran.

“I remember the nerves, so when I see a lot of the young guys out here, I know just how they’re feeling,” McFarlane said.

Twenty-six year old Jack Wyman will take a three-stroke lead over Joe Alvarez into Thursday’s final round. Wyman flirted with the Brunswick course record of 8-under par 64 on Wednesday, going 6-under on the front nine before finishing at 4-under for the day, and 7-under for the tournament.

“I think Joe Alvarez is right behind me and he’s a fierce competitor,” Wyman said. “That’s where you want to be. My approach isn’t going to change at all. I have a game plan and I’ll stick to it. You’ve got to be aggressive out here. Being conservative is not going to help.”

Ricky Jones has three Maine Am titles, most recently winning in 2013 at Augusta Country Club. Jones was runner-up last year, as well as 2012, and recalled his first Maine Am experience, at Penobscot Valley Country Club in 1992. He was 21 years old.

“I made a chip on the last hole that stopped an inch in front of the cup, and I missed the cut by one. I think the next year I finished third,” Jones said.

As one of the most successful players in Maine Am history, Jones realizes he’s a role model to some of the younger players, whether he intends to be or not.

“I remember growing up, looking up to Mark, and going out to watch him play and see what he did. He always seemed to be there every time,” Jones said. “It’s probably harder on me than on (younger golfers) to go out there and play. When you’re the one who was out there hitting the longest drives and now you’re not…” Jones let the sentence trail off and laughed.

“I played with Ricky last year. That was cool. I played with him for two days. He’s been here, and obviously he’s won it a couple times. Just to watch him play is pretty cool,” Gavin Dugas of Pittsfield said.

Dugas came close to the shot of the day, nearly making a hole in one on the short par 3 14th hole.

“It was close. Then my birdie putt stayed right on the edge of the hole, so that hole didn’t really want me to come in,” Dugas, who will be a junior at Husson University in the fall, said.

Dugas’ younger brother Eric, who will join Gavin at Husson, also nearly aced 14, putting his tee shot six inches from the cup. The explosion of talented younger players in undeniable. In the last decade, Jones is the only Maine Am winner to be older than his 20s.

“The MSGA junior program has really produced some good young players. It’s really showing,” Plummer said. “I wish I could still play like that.”

To many players, including Joe Baker, who played in Plummer’s group in the first two rounds, Plummer is still a golfer from which younger players can learn.

“I mean, he grinds,” Baker said. “He obviously probably doesn’t hit it as good as he used to, so he finds different ways around the course. You’ve got to just keep grinding out there, never give up.”

Baker is just 31, but he’s served as a teacher to the younger players.

“I’ve learned a bunch from a lot of the guys I’ve played with. I played with Joe Baker in a qualifying round the first time I tried to qualify for the Am, and he just reminded me to keep a steady head, hit the fairways and greens and it will come from there,” Sam Grindle, who recently completed his sophomore year with the Rollins College golf team, said. Grindle was 16 when he played in his first Maine Am, at Sunday River in 2012. He enters Thursday’s final round five strokes behind Wyman.

“I’ve learned it’s a long golf tournament. Fifty-four holes is a lot of golf. You can’t get caught up in one or two bad shots. You’ve just got to keep moving forward and make every shot count,” Grindle said.

Staff Writer Drew Bonifant contributed to this report.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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