Cole Anderson tees off on the 9th hole at Biddeford-Saco Country Club on July 9 during the Maine Amateur championship. Looking on, from left, are golfers Mike Arsenault and Drew Powell. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald

Who is the Maine golfer of the year?

That was how Brian Bickford — executive director of the Maine State Golf Association — pitched the inaugural Maine Event to Cole Anderson.

That’s all Anderson needed to hear.

“Pro, amateur, it doesn’t matter. If you’re playing well, you have a chance to win,” said Anderson, who last month won his second straight Maine Amateur title. “You play to win. It doesn’t really change anything as far as my mindset goes.”

The Maine Event, which replaced the annual Charlie’s Maine Open this summer, opens Wednesday at the Augusta Country Club. The final round is scheduled for Thursday at Waterville Country Club. The Maine Event became a two-course tournament when the Augusta Country Club accidentally doubled booked events this week.

“It adds some spice, but that’s not a bad place to be,” Bickford said on playing the tournament on two courses.

The tournament is open to the top amateur or pro golfers in Maine, regardless of gender. Bickford said there are 118 players are in the field.

“I’m super excited,” said Bailey Plourde, who won the 2018 Maine Women’s Amateur and was runnerup in this year’s tournament. “There’s not many events where women and men play together.”

Rachel Smith, left, congratulates Ruby Haylock after Haylock won the Maine Women’s Amateur last month at the Augusta Country Club in Manchester. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The Maine Event was created when travel restrictions for out of state professional players forced the cancelation of Charlie’s Maine Open, which was scheduled at the Augusta Country Club June 30 and July 1.

“The Maine Open was probably 40 percent Maine and 60 percent out of state players,” Bickford said.

Any player of any skill level from Maine is eligible to play in the Maine Event. A glance at the tee times for Wednesday’s opening round shows the depth of talent in the field.

Three-time Maine Am champion Ryan Gay tees off at 7:50 a.m. in his first competitive round in four years. Three-time Maine Am winner Ricky Jones tees off at 8:10 a.m., in a group with pro Jeff Seavey of Rockport and Carrie Langevin, a perennial contender for the Women’s Am title.

The most intriguing group of the first round tees off at 9:20 a.m. Anderson is joined by Ruby Haylock, the 17-year old winner of the Women’s Maine Am who beat Plourde in a one-hole playoff at Augusta Country Club last month, and Mark Plummer, who with 13 Maine Amateur titles is the most accomplished golfer is state history. Setting up interesting playing groups was part of the fun in organizing the tournament, Bickford said.

“You have the Maine Am champion, the Women’s Am champion, and everybody’s champion in Mark Plummer,” Bickford said. “Let’s shake it up a bit.”

Another supergroup was on the original tee sheet, with Plourde and Caleb Manuel, who won the state junior title with an incredible albatross shot, playing with Shawn Warren, a pro at Falmouth Country Club who played in the PGA Championship last weekend in San Francisco. Warren was moved to a tee time near the end of the day while he awaits results of the COVID-19 test he took upon returning from California.

Mark Plummer tees off on the 7th hole at the Biddeford-Saco Country Club on July 7 during the Maine Amateur championship. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald Buy this Photo

“I’ve watched (Manuel) grow up. He’s a great player,” Plourde said.

Anderson, a Camden Hills graduate, played with Plummer in the first two round of the Maine Am last month, and recalled playing with Haylock in a high school match when she was at Leavitt Area High School in Turner. Originally, Anderson expected to be back at Florida State University this week, preparing for the upcoming golf season with his teammates.

“The ACC canceled the fall season, so I can stay in Maine a couple extra weeks and play in this,” Anderson said.

Plourde is entering her senior season at Centre College in Kentucky, where she earned Division III all-American status last season. Her fall season also was canceled.

“So I’m excited for one more competitive tournament,” Plourde said about playing in the Maine Event.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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