BRUNSWICK — Jack Wyman may not have been mentioned among the top contenders for the 98th Maine Amateur golf tournament, but after two rounds, he’s the one everyone’s talking about.

Wyman, a 26-year-old from Falmouth, flirted with the club record Wednesday at the Brunswick Country Club before settling for a 4-under 68 to take a three-stroke lead into the final round.

Wyman’s 68, powered by a 6-under performance on the front nine, gave him a two-day total of 137, three shots ahead of Joe Alvarez, who also had a 68 on Wednesday.

“I played the front nine great. I was really feeling it,” said Wyman, who plays out of the Portland Country Club. “I stumbled at the end, unfortunately … but I’m still in good position.”

That he is. Sam Grindle, the first-round leader from Deer Isle (and Island Country Club) shot a 2-over 74 and is tied with a three-time Maine Am winner, Ricky Jones, and 16-year-old Cole Anderson, a junior-to-be at Camden Hills High, at 142 – five strokes back.

Wyman, Alvarez and Grindle will tee off in the final group at 9:40 a.m. Thursday.

Forty-one golfers made the cut (two-day total of 152) to play in Thursday’s final round. The biggest name to miss the cut was 13-time champion Mark Plummer, who had a two-day total of 156.

Wyman knows his three-stroke lead isn’t as big as it appears.

“You can never get too comfortable,” said Wyman. “You’ve got to keep the foot on the gas pedal and keep going, especially out here where there’s a lot of birdies. I don’t think even par is going to do it. I think you’ve got to keep pushing.”

Alvarez, a 37-year-old from North Berwick who plays out of Webhannet, set the early standard in the second round when he went out at 7:10 a.m. and put down his 68. He said he knew that’s what he had to do to stay in contention.

“That was the goal,” he said. “That’s the number that Seth (Woodcock, his caddie and former golf teammate at the University of Maine) and I talked about on the drive coming in, 68.”

Asked the difference in his second round and the first-day par 72, Alvarez said, “Yesterday I bogeyed four of the first six, so I started off rough.”

Wednesday, he didn’t. He was even after nine holes – golfers in the Maine Am are playing the course’s back nine first so they can finish on 9, which ends at the clubhouse – and then shot a 4 under on the back nine.

Then Wyman took the course and set a staggering pace. He was 6 under after nine holes, prompting thoughts of a course record, which is 8-under 64, set by Jack Harkins in 1978.

“Everything was working,” he said. “My putter was going. It was fun. Everything I did, I felt really confident.”

Jeff Cole, who was playing with Wyman, said it was fun to watch him.

“After the first four holes he looked so confident,” said Cole. “I knew he was going to have a quality round. I thought I was keeping a scorecard that would be a course record.”

When Wyman sank a 15-foot birdie putt with four holes to play, he was at 7 under. Then, he said, “The wheels fell off.”

Wyman, who said he was aware of the record, bogeyed three of the last four holes. On the 15th hole (the sixth on the course), his tee shot went deep into some trees. He settled for a bogey but it could have been worse had he not been able to chip out into the fairway. He followed with a par but on the last two holes, again hooked his tee shots into trouble.

Wyman said he knew what happened: “I was aggressive early and a little tentative late. That kind of happens when you’re playing well and trying to protect the round.”

And he knows what he has to do in the final round.

“You’ve got be aggressive out here,” said Wyman. “Being conservative isn’t going to help you.”

Jones, who finished second last year, said everyone is going to have to be aggressive in the final round. “You’ve got to really shoot for the pins and take some chances,” said Jones.

Joe Baker of Martindale, who is six strokes back after a 2-over 74, said all the pressure is on the leaders, who have to “continue to play well. The guys behind don’t have anything to lose, so they might try to play a few shots you normally wouldn’t.”

Alvarez, though, said he won’t change anything.

“I’m just going to try to do the same thing I’ve been doing, hit the ball in the fairway and give myself looks for birdies,” he said. “This is a tournament I’ve wanted to win for a long time. To be in the hunt has been a goal of mine.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH