FALMOUTH — Andrew Slattery of West Minot didn’t start playing golf until he was 14 and admits he wasn’t a very good player at Poland High.

How things have changed.

Slattery shot a 1-under 71 in the second round of the 95th Maine Amateur golf championship Wednesday at The Woodlands Club to take a one-shot lead heading into Thursday’s final round of the 54-hole event.

Slattery, 25, who works at the pro shop at Martindale Country Club in Auburn, opened with a 72 on Tuesday and stands at 1-under 143. Matt Greenleaf of Portland is a shot back after rounds of 71-73-144, and Joe Walp, also of Portland, is third at 145.

Walp, the first round co-leader with Drew Powell of Bangor with 70s, shot a 75. Powell, 16, had a 78.

“This is a brand-new adventure for me,” said Slattery about being in the lead of a major state tournament. “I won’t look at the tee times until tomorrow morning,” he said, feigning nervousness.

Three years ago, Slattery was in the third-to-last group of the final day in this tournament at the Portland Country Club.

“I got to play with Ricky Jones but I didn’t play that well,” he said. “I just kept it in play today. As my round was unfolding, I thought 71 would be a good score on a course like this and under these conditions. I like courses that make you hit great shots. The greens are tricky.”

Golfers had to contend with a steady breeze and firmer course than Tuesday.

“The course played tougher today,” said Greenleaf. “It’s a fun, strong course.”

Slattery had three birdies and two bogeys. He made a 10-footer for birdie on the par-5 sixth, and added birdies on Nos. 11 and 16. He had bogeys on Nos. 7 and 10.

Slattery started working seriously on his game after high school.

“I hit a lot of practice shots and played a lot of rounds,” he said.

Jones, the defending champion from Thomaston, was two better than his opening round but still gave away shots down the stretch and is five back.

In the first round, Jones, a three-time champ, bogeyed three of his last four holes and Wednesday bogeyed the last two. Jones is at 148 after rounds of 75-73.

“Hopefully I’ll make pars on those holes tomorrow. I had a lot of putts that just missed. I just couldn’t get up and down from the fringe on 18. I hit the driver more than in the first round. At times the wind was swirling and at other times it wasn’t. It was hard to figure,” said Jones.

The highlight of his round was an eagle 3 on the par-5 11th.

“I had 82 yards in and I knocked it in with a 60-degree wedge,” he said.

Joe Baker of Oxford was alone at 149 as was a former champion, Eric Crouse of South Portland, at 150. Three players were at 151 – Jason Gall of Cumberland, Scott Stone of North Yarmouth and Joe Alvarez of North Berwick.

The final pairing of Slattery, Greenleaf and Walp offers some storylines.

Greenleaf, 32, beat Walp in the state match play final last summer, and Slattery and Greenleaf rank second and third in Maine State Golf Association points behind Jones.

The Maine Amateur champion and the next two ranked players in points will represent Maine at the United States Golf Association state team championship. Players earn season-long points based on performances in championship events and other MSGA-sponsored events.

“I played in the national state team championship and it’s a lot of fun,” said Greenleaf.

Slattery and Greenleaf are leading in the weekly state amateur tournaments run by the MSGA. They have their own foursomes in those weekly events and feed off each other.

Both also have been members of the Maine team that has won two straight Tri-State matches against New Hampshire and Vermont.

Until perhaps Thursday, that’s the biggest prize Slattery has won.

“This is what you play for,” said Greenleaf about having a chance to win the Maine Amateur.

Greenleaf had a scrambling round, getting up and down for pars on several holes. Greenleaf has yet to hit a driver on the par 4s and 5s.

“I made an up and down from 89 yards out on the third hole, which was huge,” he said.

Walp, a junior at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, overcame a less-than- stellar ball striking round by having a hot putter for the second straight day.

“I hit some pretty awful shots but my putting was still strong,” he said.

“I didn’t really think about being tied for the lead going into the second round. I just played my game and will do the same thing in the final round.”

The 36-hole cut fell at 160.