YORK — The Maine tourism industry can thank the United States Golf Association for bringing some new faces to the state, like Dani Ezelle, a 37-year-old father of four from Greenville, South Carolina.

Ezelle wanted to try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship, arguably the world’s most prestigious amateur golf tournament.

So he scanned the list of 79 sectional qualifying sites, each a grueling one-day, 36-hole test of shotmaking and mental concentration. Ezelle decided Monday’s sectional at The Ledges Golf Course in York was his best bet.

“The reason I came up here is I love bent-grass greens and in South Carolina it’s all Bermuda grass,” Ezelle said. “Plus my godmother lives in Prouts Neck and my good buddy is over on Lake Winnipesaukee. I took a $120 Uber from Boston airport right to the golf course on Saturday. The first thing I ate was a lobster roll. Actually two lobster rolls.”

With a two-round total of 76-74–150, Ezelle was well off the pace for the two coveted qualifying spots for the 118th U.S. Amateur Championship, to be held Aug. 13-19 at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.

“But I’ll be back here next year. Yes sir,” Ezelle said.


Two Massachusetts buddies and recent college graduates with pro aspirations will be going to Pebble Beach.

Massachusetts Amateur champion Patrick Frodigh, 23, of Westwood and Elon College shot 11-under 68-65-133 to beat the 74-player field by eight strokes. His second-round 65 tied a course record.

Matt Cowgill, 23, of Weston and James Madison tied for second with Jack Wyman, 27, the South Freeport resident and two-time Maine Amateur champ at 3-under 141.

Cowgill won the playoff on the first hole with a par. Wyman flubbed a chip shot and then was unable to sink a twisting 22-foot putt.

Players from 13 states, including Texas, Arizona, Georgia and both Carolinas, and three Canadian provinces, came to the challenging and hilly 6,981-yard Ledges course.

The trip for Campbell Ross, 22, of Houston made logistical sense. He’s working this summer at the Sunday River Country Club pro shop in Newry.


He wasn’t surprised that 19 other non-New England golfers, including 10 from Canada, entered.

“And the reason I say that is last year the qualifying number was (1 under) 143,” Ross said. “That’s a significantly higher number than what you’ll find in the South. The South just has more and most likely better golf talent.”

“Now it’s been kind of figured out,” Wyman said. “This place is not easy to walk 36 holes and it’s a very strong field here.”

The second alternate will be Myles Creighton of Digby, Nova Scotia. Creighton, who played in the British Amateur this year, finished fourth with a 2-under 142.

“This is the closest one for me and it worked out with my schedule,” said Creighton, who was also second alternate last year at a Massachusetts sectional. “We took a ferry to St. John’s, New Brunswick, and then about a 51/2-hour drive.”

Tying for fifth at 1-under 141 were Gavin Dugas, 21, of Pittsfield and Husson; Prescott Butler, 19, of Old Westbury, New York; Drake Hull of West Rutland, Vermont; and Bryson Richards of Plainfield, Vermont.


Ten golfers withdrew after their first round, including the New England Amateur champion, Reese McFarlane of Cape Elizabeth, who shot 79 in the morning.

Butler was the only U.S. player from outside New England to break par. The University of Alabama commit, who went to high school in Florida, was hoping to get into a sectional closer to home. That was filled, so he opted for Maine, in part because his girlfriend lives in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, area.

“I knew the two people who qualified here last year were really good Canadian players,” Butler said. “I didn’t think it would be easier, just it was my only option.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:


Twitter: SteveCCraig

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