Ryan Gay of Pittston, a junior to be at New Mexico, played well in the Mountain West Conference championship last weekend, finishing 26th overall. Gay placed third for the Lobos, who tied for fifth among nine schools.

New Mexico missed in its bid to get an at-large berth to one of six NCAA Division I regionals.

“The team struggled during the spring,” said Gay, who returned home Saturday after completing his studies. “We got off to a really good start during the fall, but we had a bad spring and couldn’t turn it around.”

Gay shot rounds of 74, 74 and 71. A year ago, he finished 30th in the conference championship.

In assessing his game, Gay said he feels his course management has improved along with his iron game. He is using a new driver that he really likes.

“I’m hitting a lot of fairways,” said Gay.

An area of concern remains his putting. He putted poorly despite winning the Maine Amateur championship last summer at Kebo Valley in Bar Harbor.

“I putted terribly at the Maine Amateur and it continued this season,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for my ball striking, I wouldn’t have won it. I feel like my stroke is good, but I seem to be catching a lot of edges.”

Gay will go for his third Maine Amateur title July 12-14 at Portland Country Club in Falmouth. Gay won his first in 2008 at Biddeford-Saco.

“I really like Portland a lot and feel comfortable there. I’m looking forward to the course and the tournament,” he said.

Gay said he will be getting reacquainted with Maine courses over the next month.

“I’m looking forward to playing on Maine courses,” he said. “They’re so different than the courses we play at school.”

As for his other top performances during the fall and spring seasons, Gay tied for 20th in the Mark Simpson Invitational in Colorado last September, which New Mexico won, and he shot a final round 66 in Hawaii in February. That marked his best round as a Lobo.

Gay said he has enjoyed his two seasons at New Mexico.

“The golf has been good so far,” Gay said. “Normally, we’re pretty darn good as a team. This program usually makes the regionals.”

Along with the state amateur, Gay’s tournament schedule includes the Monroe Amateur in New York, the Northeast Amateur in Rhode Island, the New England Amateur, and the U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament.

TEE TO GREEN: Jay Plourd, a member of Val Halla Golf Club in Cumberland, made a double eagle on the par-5 480-yard fifth hole at his home course. Plourd used a 4-iron. Playing partners were Chris King, Jim McKay and Spanky Haigis. …

The Maine State Golf Association has a weekly radio report on Mondays, morning and afternoon, on six radio stations around the state. The short segments provide reports on the previous weekend tournaments and upcoming events. The stations are the Big Jab (96.3 FM, Portland, Brunswick, Rumford, Lewiston), WPEI (95.9 FM, Portland, Biddeford, Saco, Sanford, Wells, Kittery), WAEI (910 AM, 97.1 FM, Bangor, Ellsworth, Bar Harbor), WIGY (97.5 FM, Skowhegan, Madison, Farmington), WRKD (1450 AM, Rockland) and WFAU (1450 AM, Waterville). …

Val Halla’s Wine and Nine program has been hugely successful over its four-year history. Started by golf director Brian Bickford to introduce women to golf, the program now has a waiting list. The program had 12 golfers in its first year. It now has 242. There are three levels based on ability. Each group meets weekly, and member ages range from 22 to 75.

A few years ago, Bickford wrote a business plan to attract the occasional woman golfer and built a program around it. …

Portland youngsters can sign up for the First Tee program at Riverside, either at Portland Parks and Recreation’s Cummings Center at 134 Congress Street, or online at www.firstteemaine.org.

The deadline to enter the Father and Son tournament, run by the MSGA, is June 1. It will be played June 12 at Natanis’ Arrowhead course. The deadline to enter the men’s Maine Amateur is June 2.

A team from Martindale in Auburn captured the NEPGA/Maine chapter pro-pro stroke play championship last week at Webhannet. Head pro Nick Glicos and assistant Jace Pearson shot six under over 36 holes to win by four shots over Allan Menne of Poland Spring and John Hickson of Topsham. There were 18 teams competing.

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

[email protected]