The Maine chapter of the New England PGA recently held their spring meeting. The state’s directors of golf, head pros and assistants who strive to make the game more enjoyable used the meeting to release their tournament schedule, announce their chapter awards and promote a couple of national junior tournament qualifiers in the state.
The Maine chapter will open its tournament season Tuesday with a pro-am tournament at Martindale Country Club in Auburn. The first championship event of the organization is the pro-pro stroke play May 7 at Webhannet Golf Club. That is followed by pro-am tournaments at Woodlands and Prouts Neck. The 21st State of Maine Championship will be played July 16-17 at Sugarloaf. It’s the tournament solely for Maine pros and amateurs.
The Maine chapter will hold its Chapter Championship at Biddeford-Saco on Aug. 28-29. The pro-am championship, where clubs send their top amateurs with their head pro, will be played Sept. 23 at Portland. That happens after the popular three-day York County pro-am swing in successive days at Cape Arundel, Webhannet and York on Sept. 17, 18 and 19.
The final championship event is the pro-pro match play championship Oct. 8-9 at Dunegrass.
For the second straight year, Maine pros will offer free lessons outside Hadlock Field before a Portland Sea Dogs game. That will take place June 25.
All told, there will be 11 regular pro-am tournaments by the Maine chapter this season.
The chapter awards, which were announced for the previous year’s work, are:
• Professional of the Year — Brian Bickford, Val Halla
• Assistant Professional of the Year — Rob Jarvis, Bangor Municipal
• Junior Golf Leader — Ron Bibeau, The First Tee of Maine
• Teacher of the Year — Anne McClure, The Woodlands Club
• Player Development — Brian Bickford, Val Halla
• Bill Strausbaugh Award — Matt Blasik, The Ledges
• Horton Smith Award, Tom Moffatt, Cape Arundel
• Merchandiser of the Year (private), Doug Van Wickler, The Woodlands Club; Gary Soule, (resort), Samoset Resort.
The Maine chapter is bringing back a state qualifying tournament for a national tournament, The Big “I” national championship. The state qualifier for the Big “I” will be June 8 at Cape Arundel in Kennebunkport. The tournament is open to the first 50 golfers, boys and girls, to submit an application with the entry fee of $50. The deadline to enter is June 1. The tournament is open to all amateur golfers who are Maine residents and who will not reach their 19th birthday on or before Aug. 8.
The low male and female scorer for 18 holes will earn spots into the Trusted Choice Big “I” national championship, Aug. 4-8, at the Country Club of North Carolina, Pinehurst, N.C. The website is www.bigigolf.com.
“This is a new event for us,” said Tony Decker of the Maine chapter of the New England PGA. “Our chapter wanted to make some sort of footprint into junior golf. The Maine State Golf Association has its junior tournament schedule. We feel this is a good starting point for us. The members at Cape Arundel have given up their course on a Saturday for the tournament. There will be a meal after the tournament for the players.”
The Big “I” is one of the longest-running national tournaments for junior golfers.
Applications should be sent to Tony Decker, PGA, 104 Frost St., Portland 04102. His e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Checks should be made payable to the Maine chapter NEPGA.
A reminder that the deadline to enter the National Drive, Chip and Putt competition is Tuesday. Val Halla in Cumberland is one of the 10 New England qualifying sites. It will be held July 22. The national finals will be held at the site of the Masters on the Sunday before the tournament next year.
TEE TO GREEN: The deadline to enter the Maine State Golf Association’s Club Team Championship is May 5. The tournament will be played May 19 at Belgrade Lakes Golf Course. There are still tee times available for the first MSGA Senior tournament of the year at Toddy Brook in North Yarmouth on Tuesday.
The deadline for the 49th annual Paul Bunyan Tournament is May 8.
The tournament is June 1-2 at Penobscot Valley in Orono and the Kebo Valley Club in Bar Harbor.
Shawn Warren, an assistant pro at Nonesuch River in Scarborough, tied for first with a 1-over 72 in a New England PGA pro-am tournament last week at the Woods Hole Golf Club in Woods Hole, Mass.
Dan Limauro is the new head pro at Old Marsh in Wells. He was formerly an assistant pro at The Ledges in York.
Jason Hurd is the head pro/general manager at the Augusta Country Club. Hurd was formerly the head pro at the Bethel Inn.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: