Ron Brown Jr. of Cumberland played in the Tri-State Golf Matches last weekend at the Portsmouth Country Club for the 37th straight time.

That means Brown, a two-time Maine Amateur champion, has played in over half the matches in the 73-year history of the annual competition between Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The Tri-State matches pit 16 golfers from each state, 10 regular players, four seniors (55 and up) and two juniors (17 and under) in a Ryder Cup format.

Brown has played in every one since 1975. The majority of those years, he played in positions 1 through 4 positions, which matched him against the top players from the other states.

Soon to turn 63, Brown is now in the senior matches.

While he has lost a little distance off the tee, a common occurrence as the years pass, the rest of his game is still top-notch and the envy of many of his fellow golfers.

“I still love the competition,” said Brown. “I particularly like playing when it’s out of state. It’s a nice getaway. You can relax for three days and take your mind off things. I don’t know a lot of the younger players on the team and they don’t know me. The senior players have stayed pretty much the same in recent years.”

Brown’s has had a host of teammates over the years, as one might expect, but for the most part, his playing partners in alternate shot have been three other notables in Maine golf — the late Dr. Ray Lebel, Alan Bouchard and Mark Plummer. Lebel is the only other player in Maine history to rival Brown’s longevity in Tri-States.

“The first 15 years I played I was paired with Ray Lebel,” said Brown. “Alan Bouchard was my partner for about 10 years. When Mark Plummer played, I was usually paired with him.”

Asked if he knew his overall record in the matches, Brown said: “I don’t have a clue. But I can’t remember a year not winning points.”

Along with alternate-shot on Saturday, the competition concludes with Sunday’s singles matches. Players are paired in threesomes with a player from each state playing one another. This year, New Hampshire won for the 42nd time with 34.5 points to Maine’s 19 and Vermont’s 18.5. The Tri-States began in 1935. They weren’t held from 1942-45.

Nancy Storey, executive director of the Maine State Golf Association, which selects the Tri-State team through a point system, was hoping this was Brown’s 38th appearance. That’s because in two years the matches will return to Maine, possibly at Portland Country Club, and it would have been Brown’s 40th Tri-State at his home course. Instead, it will be his 39th, but that won’t stop Brown from continuing.

“I just might play one more year to make 40,” he said.

Brown’s Tri-State matches coincide with his Maine Amateurs. He first played in the Maine Amateur in 1975 (Fairlawn in East Poland) and won it.

He has played in every one since and added a second title in 1999 at The Woodlands, which was his home course at the time. As a multiple winner of the Maine Amateur, Brown has a lifetime exemption to play in the tourney.

“Having played in 37 Tri-State matches shows the caliber of player Ron has been for a long time,” said Storey.

“The younger guys hit it longer, but Ron still scores incredibly well and he doesn’t get into trouble.”

“I haven’t lost my touch around the green,” said Brown. “I can still get it up and down.”

TEE TO GREEN: Dick Hurd, 74, of Auburn achieved a golfer’s dream when he shot his age this summer at Poland Spring Golf Resort, his home course. He shot an even par 71 by making a 30-foot birdie on the 18th hole. A golfer can achieve this rarity by shooting their age on the number or beating it.

The saying that it becomes easier to shoot your age the older you get is true. Single- digit handicappers have a better chance.

That’s what makes Hurd’s accomplishment all the more impressive.

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

[email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH