BAR HARBOR — At 6,131 yards, Kebo Valley Golf Course is a short course. Do not mistake short for easy.

Wednesday, with 20 mph wind gusts and its deceptively sloped greens, Kebo Valley puffed out its chest at the Maine Amateur Championship field. The oldest golf course in Maine, Kebo Valley has a Napoleon complex.

“This is the longest 6,100 yards you’ll ever find. There’s some shots you have to lay back. There’s some shots where the wind is blowing so hard, some of the holes might be playing 50, 60 (yards) longer than the card says. You can throw the yardage out the window as far as I’m concerned,” said Will Kannegieser, who shot the day’s best score, even-par 70.

Day 2 of the Maine Amateur saw scores climb like a hiker on nearby Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Caleb Manuel, the 19-year old who entered the day with the lead at 2-under, shot a 5-over 75 Wednesday and is now tied for the lead with Kannegieser and Joe Alvarez at 3-over going into the final round Thursday.

“The wind was probably a little hard to judge because a lot of these holes, you can’t go long on. If the wind’s in your face, it’s hard to hit it as far as you want back to the pins. It was the conditions, but I didn’t play my best, either,” Manuel said.

“The course can hold its own for a shorter course,” Alvarez added.


A few players who ended Tuesday’s first round near the top of the leaderboard fell down the Kebo Valley elevator shaft Wednesday. Scott Stone was 1-under, one shot behind Manuel, at the start of the second round. Stone began his day with back-to-back double bogeys and shot a 16-over 86. Michael O’Brien and Kent Johnson each were two strokes back at even 70 after the opening round. O’Brien was 11 over Wednesday, while Johnson was 12 over.

Alvarez was 1 over on the day and said the key was his putter.

“I made every 5-, 6-footer I had a look at today,” said Alvarez, who plays out of Webhannet Golf Club. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what the scores would be today. Once I was out there, I was the second group out today, and saw where some of those pin locations were, you had a feeling that maybe it wouldn’t be an easy scoring day for guys.”

A birdie on seven helped Kannegieser begin the tough stretch of holes at the end of the front nine heading into the turn. While he bogeyed 10, Kannegieser birdied 13 to get back to even for the day. He made par on the final five holes. Hitting low shots that stayed out the havoc-wreaking wind was key, he said.

Caleb Manuel chips onto the third green during the second round of the Maine Amateur Championship on Wednesday at Kebo Valley Golf Course in Bar Harbor. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

“I hit really good shots when I needed them most, especially on the hardest holes. Seven, eight, nine, 10, they were all playing really hard today, and that’s where my best golf came out,” Kannegieser said. “The course was playing tough with the wind. It was into you on the hardest holes, but it doesn’t make the easy ones any easier.”

Manuel double bogeyed No. 3 to fall back to even par for the tournament, and was 4 over through nine. He began the back nine with a double bogey on 10, but birdies on 11, 12 and 14 gave him a boost. Then he made a triple bogey on 16, but a birdie on 18 gave Manuel something to build on heading into the final round.

“You’re not hitting a lot of drivers. There’s definitely some tricky spots, and they put some pins in some spots today that were tough to get at,” Manuel said. “You just try to minimize (damage) and just get prepared for (Thursday).”

Alvarez said his approach will stay the same in the final round, no matter the conditions.

“This is one of those courses you’ve just got to be patient on. I feel like you’re going to get some birdie chances, but you just need to make pars on the holes where you don’t get those looks. Try to hit greens. Today, I don’t think I chipped once. I didn’t hit every green, but I at least was on the fringe of every green,” Alvarez said.

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