July 14, 2013

Golf: Hickson out to defend his title as Maine's true champion

By Tom Chard tchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The 23rd State of Maine Championship will be played Tuesday and Wednesday at Sugarloaf Golf Club in Carrabassett Valley. As of Friday, 65 players were entered, including 18 professionals.

The tournament is exclusively for Maine Chapter NEPGA pros and the state's amateurs, and has always billed itself as a true Maine championship.

John Hickson will look to defend his title. Hickson, the golf pro at Dick's Sporting Goods in Topsham, recently competed in the PGA Professional National Championship in Oregon. Hickson also won the State of Maine Championship in 2007.

Jeff Seavey of the Samoset Resort won back-to-back titles in 2010-11. Seavey also played in the PGA Professional National Championship.

Sean Warren, an assistant pro at Nonesuch River in Scarborough, has to be considered among the favorites along with Hickson and Seavey. Warren has been a top player in this summer's New England PGA Assistants' tournaments.

Other pros entered include Greg Baker, Bob Darling Jr., Tim Desmarais, Jerry DiPhilippo, Mike Dugas, Nick Glicos, David Grygiel, Chad Hopkins, Kirk Kimball, Allen Menne, Leon Oliver, Josh Parison, Bob Mathews, Don Roberts and Mike Worroll.

Darling, the head pro at Fox Ridge in Auburn, has won five State of Maine Championships. Mark Plummer of Manchester has won four, including the first in 1990. The only other amateur to win the title was Sean Gorgone in 1991. Gorgone turned pro after college.

Competing amateurs include Sam Grindle, Mike Nowak, Ashley Fifield, Matt Greenleaf, Malcolm Oliver, Gavin Dugas, Will Kannegieser, Jim Quinn and Truman Libby.

Grindle tied for fourth in last week's Maine Amateur at Augusta Country Club. Nowak tied for ninth. Fifield, Greenleaf, Kannegieser and Oliver all made the cut.

JEFF MARTIN, who played golf at Portland High and graduating in 1992, has qualified for the PGA Championship starting Aug. 8 at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. Martin played in the 2005 and 2008 PGA Championships, failing to make the 36-hole cut both times. A three-time New England PGA Player of the Year, he is in his second year as the head pro at Norton Country Club in Norton, Mass.

With a four-round even-par total of 287, Martin finished in the top 20 (tied for 14th) in last month's PGA Professional National Championship at Sunriver Resort in Oregon. The top 20 qualify for the PGA Championship.

"I've never played in a tournament before where it rained the entire time, and that included three practice rounds," he said.

Martin, who plans to play two practice rounds at Oak Hill, hopes the experience gained from his previous PGAs will give him a chance of making the cut this time.

"The key for the club pros is to calm our nerves and hit some good shots," he said. "The first time I played in the PGA I was really nervous. The second time I played really well and had a chance to make the cut. I was only plus-2 or 3 for the tournament, but I had bad 16th and 18th holes in the second round."

TICKETS ARE ON SALE for the Harris Golf Charity Classic of The Legends Tour featuring 40 former LPGA Tour players at Falmouth Country Club on Sept. 14-15. There will be pro-ams on the 12th and 13th. Tickets are available at www.harrisgolfonline.com or by calling 442-8725. A ticket will include a coupon for a free round at any of Harris Golf's semi-private courses.

SCOTT WEYMOUTH of Scarborough got into last week's Maine Amateur as the second alternate in qualifying at Biddeford-Saco. He made the most of his opportunity by having his best tournament in about a dozen appearances. Weymouth, a member at the Woodlands, tied for 14th with rounds of 74, 74 and 73 for a 221 total. He finished "in the money," earning $130 in merchandise.

"I played a bunch of Maine Amateurs back in the 1990s and never had much success," he said. "I played pretty steady. I had some jitters at the start of the first round, but told myself to have fun."

LOWELL WATSON shot his age for the first time in a recent Maine State Golf Association seniors tournament at Fairlawn. Watson, 67, shot a 66.

AN AMERICAN JUNIOR Golf Association tournament will be played July 28-31 at Sugarloaf. The Coca Cola Junior Championship, for ages 12 to 18, will have a field of 144 players from as far away as Hong Kong.

NOT ONLY did Ryan Gay of Pittston turn pro after last week's Maine Amateur, so did JJ Harris of Bath. Their first pro event was the Exotics Pro-Am Series, held Friday at Bath Country Club. The five-tournament series is sponsored by Harris Golf. The next tournament will be Aug. 1 at Penobscot Valley. 1. First prize for the winning pro is $2,000.

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: TomChardPPH

 

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