MANCHESTER — It was a shot the average golfer would brag about for weeks. On the 14th hole in his first round of the Charlie’s Maine Open at Augusta Country Club, Daniel Augustus blasted out of the bunker to the left of the green. On the green, Augustus got a slow downhill roll, and his ball stopped a few feet from the hole.

It was a beautiful shot. Asked about it after his round, Augustus thought of it differently.

“A place I shouldn’t have been in the first place,” he said, thinking of that bunker.

The Charlie’s Maine Open field is full of professional players like Augustus, guys looking to make a little money and move on to bigger tournaments. Augustus, 32, splits his time between Winter Haven Florida and his native Bermuda. He’s working on getting his permanent visa, so he doesn’t have to keep making those trips home for a week or two. Those trips interrupt his golf goals.

Augustus first tried golf when he was 3 years old. Aside from some time away from the game in middle school when he pursued soccer and cricket, two much more popular sports in Bermuda, it’s been a fixture in his life since. When you love the game, the grind of trying to make a living at it playing small tournaments isn’t so much of a grind, really.

“I love this game so much. I know this is what I’m destined to do. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when for me I believe. That’s why I do it,” Augustus said.

This year’s tournament is Augustus’s fourth Maine Open. He has earned a pair of top 10 finishes, tying for ninth place in 2016 and again last year. Augustus finished Tuesday’s first round at one over par 71. He has some work to do Wednesday to catch the leaders.

“I didn’t really play bad, the putts just didn’t drop today. I hit 15 greens. I’m going to hit some balls. I did hit some spray shots off the tee, so I’m going to work on hitting some solid longer clubs. I just need to make some putts (Wednesday),” Augustus said.

Augustus thinks he’ll be better prepared for the greens come Wednesday’s second and final round.

“I know that everyone’s saying it was a tough winter up here. and I understand there’s only so much you can do. It was a struggle adjusting to the greens for me. Every year I’ve been up here, the greens have been phenomenal. Just pristine,” Augusts said. “Because the winter was so rough, the guys did a great job with what they have. Honestly, I appreciate them getting them as good as they are.”

From cricket, Augustus learned patience.

“Like most sports, you’ve got to be patient and stick to your recipe. That’s the biggest thing in any sport, being a mentally tough person,” he said.

Before coming to Maine for the Open, Augustus played the Rhode Island Open, where he tied for 27th place. Before that, he played in the Gately Cup tournament in Connecticut, where Augustus shot 66 for a day one lead. He was three-over on day two, and finished tied for 15th.

“I’m putting myself in good positions. I can’t be mad. I’ve just got to finish strong,” he said.

Three years ago while playing in the Greater Bangor Open, Augustus met Alan Kennedy, who was there to support Mike Dugas, the pro at Pittsfield’ JW Parks course who happened to be in Augustus’ playing group. The two struck up a friendship, and Kennedy was on hand Tuesday for Augustus’s opening round.

Daniel Augustus reacts after missing a green during the first round of the Charlie’s Maine Open on Tuesday at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

“He’s just keeping me calm, keeping me company. It’s nice to have someone to talk to, and keep you a little bit relaxed and not stressing out so much. It’s just nice to see a friendly face,” Augustus said of Kennedy.

Kennedy said he tries to keep his friend loose, but Augustus is a pretty loose guy naturally and doesn’t need much help. Kennedy added he is not a caddie.

“He would have to pay me to caddie,” Kennedy said.

Augustus loves playing in New England. Tree-lined fairways and bentgrass make him smile. Previously this summer, Augustus played the Cape Cod Open, New Hampshire Open, Vermont Open, and New England Open.

“I love it up here, to tell you the truth. New England golf is great. All the guys in the Maine State Golf Association are awesome as well. It’s always a good place to come back and play,” Augustus said.

Augustus will continue playing minor league tournaments in Florida, and is getting ready for Q school.

“Basically I’m just trying to get my foot in the door for the Korn Ferry Tour,” Augustus said.

As much as he enjoys playing in New England, and playing Charlie’s Maine Open in particular, the bigger tour is the goal. Like many pros in the Maine Open field, Augustus hopes he’s too busy with bigger things to come back next year.


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