FALMOUTH — Every golf course should have a hole that’s tough, but when dolled up for tournament play will cause head shakes and spontaneous sweat at its mention.

During the Maine Amateur Championship at Portland Country Club this week, that was hole two. More than half the scores recorded on the par-4, 368 yard second hole were bogey or higher. On Thursday, hole two gave eventual tournament champion Cole Anderson enough wiggle room to win multiple tournaments.

Anderson began the day with a six stroke lead over his playing partners, Jason Gall and Reese McFarlane. Already down that much, McFarlane and Gall needed a strong start. Hole two blew that up, and took all the drama out of the day. Hole two was a pie to the Maine Am’s face.

After a birdie on hole one allowed McFarlane to keep pace with Anderson, a double bogey on two set McFarlane eight strokes back after Anderson picked up par. For Gall, it was worse. After a par on one, a triple bogey on two pushed Gall nine strokes back.

“At that point for me, I felt like if I could just get it back to even I’d be happy. Catching (Anderson) was kind of out of the question,” Gall said.

Hole two is considered by many to be Portland Country Club’s signature hole. It was depicted on the artwork signed by each of the players in this year’s Maine Am field. On the club’s web page, the hole is described as “Severely sloped from back to front, deft touch is a must around the green complex. This green demands your attention on every approach, chip, or putt.”

That description is a warning. Hole two bit McFarlane and Gall in all three ways.

McFarlane’s first approach didn’t go long enough, and rolled down the hill at the front of the green. His third shot did the same thing. On the fourth try, McFarlane finally got his ball to stick on the green, where he was able to two putt for double bogey.

“I misjudged. I played it to the wrong part of the green. On that hole, what I did, that’s a classic mistake,” McFarlane said. “It was an unfortunate way to start. If I was going to catch Cole, I had to make no mistakes.”

McFarlane went par on two in his opening round. Wednesday, he birdied the hole. Of the 303 times two was played in the tournament, just 22 birdies were scored, just over seven percent. Conversely, 170 scores, just over 56 percent, were bogey or worse over the three days of the Maine Am.

“I hit a pretty similar shot (Wednesday). I carried it maybe five yards further so that it stayed on the green. I was probably just a few feet short today, so it rolled all the way back,” McFarlane said. “It shouldn’t be the toughest hole, just because everybody has a wedge into it. But if you don’t know where to play it, it’s easy t get that rollback.”

On his first approach to the second green, Gall went with a 9-iron into the wind. It wasn’t enough club, and the ball rolled down the hill into a divot. Using a putter this time, Gall’s third shot on the hole also rolled back, finding another divot near the bottom of the hill.

“I couldn’t get the wedge under the ball because it was in the divot. If I putt it, it might bounce up there,” Gall said of his decision to putt on his second approach try. Gall then three-putted to get through the hole.

A member of Portland Country Club, Gall said while the hole can be difficult, the tournament setup made it play tougher.

“When it’s tournament speed, the ball will come all the way down. Typically on a regular day, it doesn’t. So you’ve got to be careful,” Gall said.

Anderson bogeyed two Wednesday, one of his four bogeys for the tournament. Thursday, his goal was just to get the ball somewhere on the green. While his approach had backspin, and just missed dropping for an eagle and it rolled back, it didn’t catch the hill and stayed on. where Anderson was able to two putt for par.

“I flew it far enough back where that spin didn’t take it all the way down the hill. It’s a second shot hole, for sure,” Anderson said. “It’s just a really, really hard green to hit. I almost thought of hitting 6-iron off the tee today so I would have to something that I wasn’t going to spin into the green. The problem is, it’s not that hard to hit the green, it’s hard to keep it from coming all the way back.”

Even with the troubles McFarlane and Gall had on two, Anderson didn’t feel in the clear.

“Reese scares the hell out of me when I’m playing with him, because he’s just one of those guys that out of nowhere could make six, seven birdies in a nine hole stretch. He’s got so much talent,” Anderson said.


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