The Maine State Golf Association has lined up sites for the next three Maine Amateurs.
Next year’s Maine Amateur will be played at Waterville Country Club. In 2016, the tournament will be at York Golf and Tennis, and in 2017, the centennial year of the MSGA, the tournament returns to Portland Country Club.
The Maine Amateur was last played at Waterville in 2007. Eric Higgins of Kennebunk won that year.
York will host the tournament for the first time since Bob Mathews won in 1978.
Portland has hosted the tournament 13 times, most recently in 2011, when Ryan Gay won for the third time in four years.
Said Nancy Storey, the MSGA executive director, of last week’s tournament, “The Woodlands went out of their way to make sure the tournament went flawlessly.
“General Manager Bill Robinson and director of golf Doug Van Wickler were great hosts. Golf course superintendent Ryan Minzner worked all winter to get the course in fantastic shape.”
A week before the tournament, the condition of the course was fast and firm, which is what The Woodlands and the MSGA hoped it would be for the competition. Five and a half inches of rain in the days leading to the start changed that. The course was still in top shape but a lot softer and more forgiving.
“You can’t do anything about Mother Nature,” said Storey.
SEAN GORGONE, who won four Maine Amateurs in the late 1980s and early ’90s, is back in Maine this summer, looking to combine playing and teaching.
Gorgone was a spectator at The Woodlands, with a particular focus on junior players. A few days before, he watched a Maine State Golf Association junior tournament in Rockland.
Gorgone has been based in Orlando, Florida, teaching at the World Elite Golf Academy. He said golf school is no longer in operation, so Gorgone decided to experience a Maine summer, visit family (his mother lives in Westbrook), and reunite with old friends.
Gorgone, who played college golf at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, won back-to-back state amateur titles in 1987 and 1988, and again in 1990 and 1991. He finished second to Mark Plummer in 1989. Gorgone played in the U.S. Open in 1991 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, and also in the U.S. Amateur that year. He has kept his game in competitive shape while devoting most of his time to teaching. He hasn’t made it back to another U.S. Open, but has made it to sectional qualifying a few times.
Tee to Green: Jordan Jones of Wiscasset had quite a stretch of holes in the first round of the Maine Amateur. Jones made four straight birdies on the front nine – holes four through seven. The fourth and seventh holes, a par 4 and par 3, respectively, are two of the best holes at The Woodlands. The fourth is ranked as the No. 1 handicap hole, while the seventh is 213 yards from the back tees, with water to the left of the green.
Bobby Myers of Buxton had an interesting fourth shot to the 18th green in the second round. His third shot, hit near the cart path before the clubhouse and rolled down the path to where the golf carts are parked in front of the pro shop. Myers’ ball stopped behind the flower bed and a large rock. He was given a drop on the grass behind the path.
Van Wickler, the Woodlands’ director of golf, said he had never seen a shot end up there. Myers scored a 10 on the hole to finish with an 89. He shot 79 in the opening round.
UNLIKE MOST golfers, Matt Greenleaf doesn’t take a practice swing or putting stroke before he plays. The Portland resident merely steps up to the ball and swings. Greenleaf occasionally takes a practice stroke on delicate chip shots, which he did a few times in the final round of the Maine Amateur. Greenleaf will never be assessed a penalty for slow play. A shot off the lead starting the final round, he struggled in the middle of the round and ended up shooting a 78 – good for a fourth-place finish with a 54-hole score of 222.
On Tuesday, The Ledges Golf Club in York will host a qualifying tournament for the U.S. Amateur. There will be 60 players competing for two spots. The U.S. Amateur will be held Aug. 11-17 at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia.