MANCHESTER – It’s a slimmer and stronger Ricky Jones walking the fairways these days.
Jones has been doing a workout program called Crossfit. Jones also used to smoke while playing but quit two years ago.
Jones said he got into the program because his wife was doing it.
“It looked like fun,” said Jones, who leads the Maine Amateur after an opening-round 66 on Tuesday.
Since working out, Jones has shed 20 pounds.
“I don’t think it’s added any distance on my tee shots but I know I’m stronger,” he said.
He also has more energy. Jones plays in a lot of high-profile tournaments during the summer. On Friday he’ll leave for the USGA Public Links event in Virginia. He has played in four of them.
Jones said he used to work out in the mornings 10 to 12 years ago. It also happened to be his best stretch of golf until maybe now.
“I feel I’m playing as well as I ever have,” he said.
JOHNNY HAYES IV of Cape Elizabeth had an eagle 3 on the 458-yard. par-4 13th. Hayes said he punched a 7-iron from 174 yards. Ah, to be young.
Hayes will be a senior at the University of Colorado, where he plays on the golf team in the highly competitive Pac-12.
Hayes’ eagle took some of the sting out of a two-shot penalty he was assessed on the front nine. Instead of shooting a 71, Hayes turned in a 73.
The Maine State Golf Association adopted a lift, clean and replace rule because of the wet fairways. The replace part means a player has to replace his ball in the exact spot he lifted it from. Hayes didn’t realize that and put his ball within a scorecard’s width.
He realized his mistake a few holes later and was assessed the penalty at the scorer’s desk upon completion of his round.
DREW POWELL, 14, of Penobscot Valley is the youngest player in the tournament.
He accorded himself well with a first- round 75 despite taking an 8 on the par-4 fourth hole.
SPEAKING OF AGE, Dr. Leon Buck of Bath is still going strong as a MSGA rules official at 97. That’s right — 97. Buck, the 1950 Maine Amateur champion, worked the 14th and 15th holes in the first round.
First as a player and then as an official, Buck has more than 70 years afflilation with the Maine State Golf Association.
Buck, a member of both the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame and the Maine Golf Hall of Fame, was the head of rules for the MSGA for years. He has worked as a USGA rules official and for the Futures Tour of the LPGA.
The former dentist is an expert on the rules of golf.
THE AUGUSTA Country Club was established in 1916. Two years later it hosted the first Maine Amateur. This is the 17th state amateur the course has hosted, the most of any course in Maine.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at [email protected]