Next July, the Maine Women’s Amateur, a 54-hole tournament with 96 players, will be played at Augusta Country Club. It will be jointly run by the Women’s Maine State Golf Association and the Southern Maine Women’s Golf Association, which will no longer hold a championship of its own.

Said Barbara Rondeau, president of the SMWGA, in an email, “For the last 35 years, there has been a WMSGA championship and a SMWGA championship. There has not been a true Maine Women’s Amateur as some players were not eligible for one event or the other.

“In recent years, the number of entrants in both those events have been decreasing for a number of reasons. The WMSGA approached the SMWGA last fall to discuss the possibility of offering a combined championship, a true Maine Women’s Amateur.

“SMWGA members voted positively to approve that and give it a try in 2012. It was not presented as a vote to end the SMWGA championship. We agreed it is time to work together to present a prestigious women’s golf event in Maine. The responsibilities and leadership will come equally from both organizations. The players can qualify by playing the required number of events with either organization. Players from both organizations are excited about the combined event and the attention it should create for women’s golf in the state of Maine.”

Nancy Pratt, president of the WMSGA, said it makes sense to have two women’s golf organizations because of the size of the state, but that it also makes sense to have one state championship.

Pratt pointed out that securing golf courses for a championship could have been a problem down the road if participation didn’t increase. With one state amateur, there should be a full field. The Maine Women’s Amateur is expected to move around the state like the men’s state amateur does.

“There was talk about having one state amateur for years,” said Laurie Hyndman, a six-time SMWGA champion from Cumberland. “It’s a great opportunity.”

Leslie Guenther of Hebron, who won her fourth SMWGA title last week, applauded having a true state championship.

“Getting all the best players together makes sense,” she said.

Guenther will be competing in the WMSGA amateur Aug. 8-10 at Penobscot Valley in Orono. She will be looking to win her first WMSGA crown after being a runner-up three times. 

TEE TO GREEN: After 27 years as the treasurer of the Maine Seniors Golf Association, George Ellis, 91, of Scarborough will step down.

Ellis’ last day of handling the financial duties for the organization will be July 31.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said Ellis, a member of the Portland Country Club.

“It’s a good way to meet people and I’ve met an awfully lot of good people in this position. When you meet people in golf, they’re pretty darn good people.”

While he’s still feeling well, the time is right to pass on the duties to someone younger, said Ellis. This year has been better healthwise for Ellis than 2010, when ailments curtailed his golf.

“The job takes its toll. My mind is not as sharp as it once was,” said Ellis.

Ellis worked in marketing for Maine Central Railroad. He came to Maine in 1955 from Massachusetts.

“Coming to Maine was the best move I made,” he said. …

No Maine player made the 36-hole cut in the 82nd New England Amateur last week. The tournament was held at the Metacomet in East Providence, R.I. The top three from the state were Maine Amateur champion Ryan Gay, who shot 79-68, James Sterling of Val Halla, who shot 78-70, and Maine Amateur runner-up Jason Harris, who shot 74-76. Jeff Hedden, a 47-year-old from Connecticut, won the tournament with a 13-under 267 total after rounds of 66-67-64-70.

Next year’s New England Amateur will be played at the Falmouth Country Club.

Seth Sweet of Madison shot rounds of 77 and 75 at the U.S. Junior Amateur in Bremerton, Wash. Sweet was one of 12 golfers at the cutoff score vying to make the 64-player match play field, but lost in a playoff. The other Mainer in the tournament, Joe Walp of Portland, had rounds of 77 and 85. 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at:

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