Jack Wyman tees off on the second hole on the second day of play in the Maine Amateur Championship on Wednesday at the Belgrade Lakes Golf Club. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Photo)
BELGRADE — There were no eagles on Jack Wyman’s scorecard. No long birdie streaks. He didn’t need them.
Consistency was Wyman’s weapon on Wednesday. And for the second straight year, it’s taken him to the brink of a Maine Amateur Championship.
Wyman carded his second straight 3-under 68, taking the outright lead at 6-under after two rounds of the Maine Am at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club.
There were four birdies and one bogey on Wyman’s scorecard, and while the smooth-swinging lefty from South Freeport and Portland Country Club rarely dazzled, he was rarely in any trouble that threatened to derail his day.
“I didn’t hit it quite as well as yesterday, but I didn’t make any mistakes,” said Wyman, who won last year’s tournament by two strokes. “My misses were pretty straight. I really wasn’t in jeopardy of making bogey or doubles at all today. It was kind of right down the middle.”
He’ll go in with a one-stroke lead over Cole Anderson, who shot even-par 71 after a 5-under 66 Tuesday, as well as a two-shot advantage over Drew Powell and a three-shot lead over John Hayes IV. One day after playing a nearly error-free round, Anderson, a Camden Hills student and Florida State commit, was all over the place with four birdies and three bogeys, including a double bogey on the par-4 15th.
“That’s golf. I really do feel like I played pretty similar today to what I did yesterday,” Anderson said. “A couple of just unfortunate things here and there, bad breaks and bad swings. But I still feel like I’m playing just as well, and I feel really confident going into (Thursday).”
So is the man Anderson and the rest of the field will be chasing. The 27-year-old Wyman provided a clinic in steady golf, reaching each green on the back nine in regulation and never three-putting, sinking 4- and 12-footers on Nos. 10 and 15, respectively, for birdies.
Much of that was by design, as Wyman stayed away from any choices that could backfire on the scorecard. A decision to use iron on the short par-4 10th was an example, as was a call to lay up on the par-5 12th and 16th holes despite drives that put him long and in the center of the fairway.
“Your gameplan changes throughout the day depending on how you’re playing,” he said. “I might have gone for that par 5 in two if I needed to, or if it felt like I wasn’t playing well and needed something good to happen. But I just didn’t need that at the time. … I thought I had a good number and I just wanted to keep it right there.”
Anderson entered the day looking to build on a two-shot lead after round one, but he quickly found himself just trying to hang near the top during a round that he said looked worse than it felt.
“I would have loved to extend the lead … but overall, I’m happy with how I played and happy to have a good shot,” he said. “One shot is one hole. It’s not like I’m five shots back and having to really go out and kill it tomorrow to be in the equation.”
Anderson bogeyed the fifth and sixth holes, then birdied the 10th, 11th and 14th. A double bogey on 15 canceled out that progress, before a near-eagle on 16 put the day back on a positive note.
“That’s where you really have to just sort of be patient,” he said. “You never know when something good can happen. You can hole out from the fairway out of nowhere. You grind every shot so you can keep yourself in it.”
Powell had to use the same workmanlike attitude. Three bogeys threatened to blow up his chances, but the 20-year-old playing out of Penobscot Valley used four birdies to put himself in the final grouping along with Wyman and Anderson.
One of those birdies came on 16, as the Brown University player got aggressive and reached the green 558 yards away in two shots.
“I don’t have my driver in my bag, I didn’t think I’d be able to get there. I just took 3-wood and hit it,” he said. “At 250, I said ‘Let’s go for it, I haven’t gone for anything all day.’ “
Lurking just behind the final group is Hayes, the 2015 champ who used a 2-under 69 to move to 3-under going into Thursday. Despite mostly using hybrids off the tee due to a shaky driver, he birdied three of the four par 5s.
“I just made birdies on the par 5s,” he said. “When Tiger Woods started out, pretty much every course was a par 68 because he’d birdie every par 5. … That’s pretty much the same mindset I have.”
Joe Baker, Caleb Manuel and Joe Alvarez are tied for fifth at 1-under. Baker tied for the day’s best score with a 3-under 69.
“I hit it good yesterday, and I just continued to hit it good,” he said. “I don’t ever really look to see what people are shooting anyway. Just play your own game.”
Andrew Slattery is eighth at even par, while Craig Chapman and Bill Boyington are tied for ninth at 2-over.
Cole Anderson watches his putt on the first green on the second day of play in the Maine Amateur Championship on Wednesday at the Belgrade Lakes Golf Club. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Photo)