Thursday, April 24, 2014
MANCHESTER — Ron Brown Jr. of Cumberland played in his 39th consecutive Maine Amateur this week.
Brown has won two of them. His first came in 1975 at Fairlawn Golf Course in East Poland and his second was at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth in 1999. Brown missed the cut this year, shooting 83-79-162.
But as a former champion, he has a lifetime exemption to play in the tournament. Next year's tournament site? The Woodlands, where he last won. When Brown won at The Woodlands, it was his home club. He's been playing at the Portland Country Club for the last few years.
After finishing the second round, Brown was understandably discouraged with his play and said he wasn't sure if he'll play in next year's tournament.
Nancy Storey, the executive director of the Maine State Golf Association, wouldn't hear of it.
"You're playing," said Storey to Brown.
Brown likely will have a change of heart after he digests this tournament. When suggested he should play next year to make it an even 40, he smiled and nodded.
REESE MCFARLANE, 15, of Cape Elizabeth was the only player in the field to drive the 280-yard, uphill par-4 12th hole in the first round.
McFarlane, a junior-to-be at Cape Elizabeth High, knocked the ball on the green on the fly with his drive and two-putted for a birdie.
"I killed it," said McFarlane, who the Class B state individual high school title last year.
McFarlane recently returned from a golf camp at the University of North Carolina. That might be a school McFarlane would like to play for after graduation. His sister, Taylor, was a swimmer for the Tar Heels.
THE AUGUSTA Country Club members have come together to welcome the 94th Maine Amateur at their course.
Jason Hurd, the head professional and general manager, said 25 to 30 members showed up for a divot party the day before the tournament. That's where the members go out on the course and replace any divots to get the place in top condition. The course was already in great shape before the members took to it, but it helps to build camaraderie and excitement for the tournament.
Hurd is in his first year at Augusta.
TOMMY STIRLING credits his instructor, Jim Woodward, the head teaching pro at Oak Tree National in Edmonds, Okla., with turning his game around.
Stirling said Woodward keeps it simple. Obviously the information has struck a chord with Stirling, a former Gorham High golfer. Stirling will be a senior at Southwest Oklahoma State.
This was Stirling's fourth straight Maine Amateur and the first time he made the cut. He not only made the cut, he's tied for second place, six shots behind the leader, Ricky Jones, after rounds of 69-70.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: