Maine Junior Golf: Girls gunning for Plourde, boys' title up for grabs

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Bailey Plourde follows through on a shot during the second round of the Maine Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at Martindale Country Club in Auburn on July 25.

She might be the defending champion, but Bailey Plourde has plenty of motivation heading into the Maine Junior Amateur Golf Championship at Val Halla Golf Course, which begins Tuesday.

Plourde is coming off a disappointing runner-up finish in last week’s Maine Women’s Amateur Championship — her second straight second-place finish behind champion Staci Creech. A second Maine Junior girls’ title won’t be easy, however. Plourde, a recent Lincoln Academy graduate and Samoset Resort member, has plenty of competition ready to take the title away.

Plourde shared last year’s girls’ high school individual championship with Erin Holmes, a Val Halla member who finished second at last year’s Maine Junior Amateur and fifth at last week’s Maine Women’s Amateur. Jordan Laplume, of Dunegrass in her hometown of Old Orchard Beach, finished third at last year’s state championships, as well as last week’s Maine Women’s Amateur. Elizabeth Lacognata of Scarborough and The Woodlands in Falmouth was fourth at the Maine Women’s Amateur and was tied for that same place at last year’s high school tournament.

The defending Maine Junior boys’ champion, Logan Thompson of Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln, won’t be back to Val Halla this year. Neither will the two runners-up, defending Class A boys’ champ Cole Anderson and 2015 Maine Junior 13-14 boys’ titlist Caleb Manuel.

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South Portland’s Thomas Higgins is the highest-finishing returning boys’ player, after placing fourth at last year’s tournament. Also in the boys’ field this year are 2015 15-17 champion Austin Legge, of Cape Elizabeth, previous 13-14 champs Armand Ouellette (2016) and Ryan Collins (2014), and last year’s Class A boys’ runner-up Lucas Roop of Gorham.

“Lucas always shoots really well. He’s a great golfer. He’ll probably shoot something under par,” said Lewiston’s Alex Robert, who will be playing with Roop in the first round. “He’ll definitely be a low scorer these two days.”

Local golfers playing in the two-day tournament include a pair of girls who tied for 11th at the Maine Women’s Amateur. Stephanie Rodrigue of Lewiston and Fox Ridge, finished fifth for girls at last year’s Maine Junior Amateur. Ruby Haylock, of Hartford and Turner Highlands, was tied for fifth after the first round of the Maine Women’s Amateur despite being one of the youngest competitors in the field at just 12 years old (she turned 13 on Monday).

“I feel confident about my game. I’ve been playing pretty well lately,” Haylock said, calling her experience in the Maine Women’s Amateur “definitely” a confidence boost.

Haylock’s younger sister, 10-year-old Jade, will also be playing in the Maine Junior Amateur.

Another local girl in the field is Janelle Bryant, a Gray native and St. Dominic Academy student who is coming off an appearance in the Maine Women’s Amateur at her home course of Martindale.

“Our group of girls is a pretty solid group, and there hasn’t been a group of girls like that in the state of Maine in quite a long time,” Bryant said in preparation for the Maine Women’s Amateur, which included nine junior players in the field.

“They’re a lot of competition,” Haylock said. “They’re definitely really impressive, but I’m getting right up there with them.”

There will be 11 girls in the Maine Junior Amateur tournament, including Jade Haylock in the 12-and-under division.

Local boys in the field include Robert, who finished 12th in the Class A state championship, as well as Iain Frumiento and Harrison Gray (Auburn), Trevor Flanagan (Monmouth), Aaron Perkins (Lewiston) and Adam White (Lisbon). Windham’s Evan Glicos, the son of Martindale golf pro Nick Glicos, also will be in the field.

“I haven’t been playing a lot of golf lately; I’ve been playing a lot of hockey,” Robert said. “So I’m just mainly trying to keep a positive mindset no matter if I hit a lot of bad shots or not. I’m feeling all right. I just want to have fun, though.”

Alex Robert, of Lewiston, watches his putt roll on the 18th green at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland during the Maine Junior Championship in 2016.
Alex Robert, of Lewiston, watches his putt roll on the 18th green at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland during the Maine Junior Championship in 2016.
Ruby Haylock tees off on the 15th hole during the 2nd round of Maine Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at Martindale Country Club in Auburn on July 25.
Ruby Haylock tees off on the 15th hole during the 2nd round of Maine Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at Martindale Country Club in Auburn on July 25.
Elizabeth Lacognata follows through on a shot during the second round of the Maine Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at Martindale Country Club in Auburn on July 25.
Elizabeth Lacognata follows through on a shot during the second round of the Maine Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at Martindale Country Club in Auburn on July 25.

Cape Elizabeth’s Austin Legge ponders a putt on the first hole at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland during the final round of the Maine Junior Championship in 2016.
Cape Elizabeth’s Austin Legge ponders a putt on the first hole at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland during the final round of the Maine Junior Championship in 2016.

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