Friday, December 6, 2013
By Tom Chard email@example.com
NEWRY - Will Kannegieser, 15, of Minot won't soon forget his first Maine Amateur Championship.
He followed up an opening-round 78 with a 1-over 73, good for fourth place after the second round Wednesday.
Kannegieser will be a sophomore at Gould Academy in Bethel this fall.
He is one of the three 15-year olds in the tournament. Gavin Dugas of Pittsfield is the youngest player in the 132-player field. Kannegieser is next, followed by Chris Billings of Topsham.
Kannegieser was a model of consistency, splitting the fairways with his drives and hitting the greens in regulation.
Alex McFarlane of Cape Elizabeth, one of his playing partners, was asked at the scorer's table how Kannegieser played.
McFarlane motioned straight down the middle.
Even though the course played at just over 7,000 yards in the second round, Kannegieser said length wasn't a problem.
"I'm long enough," he said.
It doesn't hurt when you chip in for birdie, which he did on the par-3 14th.
"I was in a waste area alongside the green," he said.
Kannegieser comes from a golfing family. His mother, Kristen, is a two-time Maine Amateur champion.
THERE ARE TWO father-and-son combinations in the tournament -- Dan and Seth Sweet of Madison, and Jim and Mike Caron of Gorham.
Dan Sweet made the tournament as an alternate. His son is leading at 4 under.
Jim Caron was playing in his first Maine Amateur while his son was in his second.
Dan Sweet and the Carons failed to make the 36-hole cut. Seth Sweet will compete for the top prize in state amateur golf today. A win certainly would add to his resume as he heads for his freshman year at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. Va.
Sweet will play in next week's New England Amateur at the Falmouth CC. On Monday he will be in the 51-player field in a U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament at Sanford CC. Two players will advance to the national event in Denver in late August.
He leaves for college Aug. 19.
THE YARDAGE LISTED on the scorecard for the second round was 7,130 yards, making it the longest course in Maine Amateur history.
Some of the golfers complained about the difficulty of the course, but in a players' poll conducted five years ago by the Maine State Golf Association, Sunday River was the second preference as a course the players wanted for the tournament. The top choice? The Portland Country Club in Falmouth, site of last year's tournament.
"It may be playing at 7,130 yards but it feels like 7,800 yards," said Ron Brown, 63, a two-time Maine Amateur champ who is a member at Portland CC.
While the course was long, it's in pristine condition. The greens were double-cut and rolled for the second straight day.
The MSGA likes to secure future tournament sites four and five years in advance.
Next year's tournament will be at the Augusta CC.
In 2014, the tournament will be at The Woodlands, followed by Waterville CC and York Golf and Tennis.
DAULTON WICKENDEN never caddied before Tuesday.
Now he's on the bag of the Maine Amateur leader.
Wickenden, 15, of Rockport, knows Seth Sweet through junior tournaments.
"I was going to play but I didn't qualify, and (Sweet) needed somebody to caddie for him so I thought it would be fun," Wickenden said. "He's playing great. We're having a lot of fun. He's relaxed."
Wickenden knows his job is less about giving Sweet advice on how to play each hole, and more about listening and keeping Sweet calm.
"Just keep him in check. Don't let him get frustrated and down," Wickenden said. "This morning he got off to a bit of a rocky start, but he made some good putts to keep him going."
Wickenden is looking forward to today's final round.
"He should be in the final group, so it will be cool to see what it's like out there, see what the atmosphere is like," Wickenden said.
Travis Lazarczyk of the Kennebec Journal contributed to this report.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: