August 11, 2013

Golf: Golfer's birdies working to help Maine junior program

By Tom Chard
Staff Writer

Gavin Dugas of Pittsfield is raising money this summer for the Maine State Golf Association's junior program through his participation in "Birdies For Charity" as part of the American Junior Golf Association's Leadership endeavor.

Dugas, 16, will be a junior at Maine Central Institute, where he is a member of the golf team. Dugas played in last week's Maine Junior Championship at Val Halla in Cumberland, shooting 78-77.

"I joined the AJGA this year and my dad was looking into some leadership links I could do and I picked birdies for charity," said Dugas. "I picked the MSGA junior program as my charity."

Dugas's dad, Mike, is the head pro/owner of J.W. Parks in Pittsfield.

Dugas has raised $1,000 through people pledging an amount per birdie or from one-time donations. Whatever Dugas raises, the United States Golf Association will match up to $2,000.

In a tournament season that began in June, Gavin Dugas has made 95 birdies. He made two in two rounds at the Maine Juniors. Dugas's season will run to the schoolboy championship in October.

"I can count birdies in any tournament that plays by USGA rules," said Dugas.

In choosing the MSGA junior program for his charity, Dugas said he wanted to give back to the program that he has been part of since he was 10.

"It makes me feel good knowing that the MSGA will have some more money to use for its junior program and also help golfers who might not have the financial support," said Dugas.

Dugas said his next tournament will be an AJGA tournament in Maryland.

JOHN HAYES IV, who lives in Cape Elizabeth and whose family is from Newport, R.I., won the Rhode Island Golf Association's 30th annual Stroke Play Championship two weeks ago. Hayes, who plays for the University of Colorado, shot rounds of 70-66-66. His 11-under 202 won by one shot over Bobby Leopold.

In July at the Maine Amateur, Hayes hit the ball great but couldn't make many putts. He ended up shooting 73-71-77-221 at the Augusta County Club. After that tournament, Hayes found out the face insert on his putter was improperly aligned, causing his putts to miss their mark. Changing putters made the difference for Hayes, who continued his strong ball striking in Rhode Island.

Hayes is eligible to play in the Rhode Island tournament because his family is a member of the Newport, R.I.. Country Club. Back here, Hayes is a member of Prouts Neck in Scarborough.

Hayes called the Rhode Island tournament his biggest win.

"There were some excellent players in the tournament," he said.

At the Maine Amateur, Hayes said he felt like he was trying to force himself to make birdies rather than just let it happen, like he did in Rhode Island.

"The putts started to drop," said Hayes.

Hayes is playing in the Rhode Island Open this week before heading back to school, where he hopes to have strong fall and spring campaigns.

TEE TO GREEN: The Harris Charity Classic of the Legends Tour has received commitments from 33 players with just over a month before the tournament. The 36-hole tournament (Sept. 14-15) will be played at Falmouth with 40 players. There will be two days of pro-ams on Sept. 12-13. This is the second straight year Falmouth and Harris Golf have hosted the Legends. Some players in the tournament are defending champion Sherri Turner, Val Skinner, JoAnne Carner, Rosie Jones, Jan Stephenson, Patty Sheehan, Sally Little, Donna Andrews and Cindy Rarick. Nancy Lopez isn't entered this year.

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