Maine Open: Wyman, Kannegieser gearing up for U.S. Amateur

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Will Kannegieser, of Minot, had a one-over-par on Tuesday on the first day of the Charlie’s Maine Open at Augusta Country Club in Manchester. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Photo)

Jack Wyman drives the third fairway on Tuesday on the first day of the Charlie’s Maine Open at Augusta Country Club in Manchester. (Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Photo)

MANCHESTER — Jack Wyman and Will Kannegieser have cross-country flights in their itineraries later this week.

A few days after the Charlie’s Maine Open concludes Wednesday at Augusta Country Club, both will head to California to play in the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill Golf Course.

“I have something to look forward to,” Wyman said. “It’s going to be a great time, I can’t wait.”

Kannegieser, of Minot, secured a U.S. Amateur spot by earning medalist honors at the qualifier at Taconic Golf Course in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Wyman, of South Freeport, lost a heartbreaker at the qualifier at the Ledges Golf Course on Monday, July 23, falling short on a playoff hole for the second spot.

“I was so bummed out. I was so disappointed, because I was right there,” Wyman said. “It just came down to a playoff hole.”

Three days later, though, he received a phone call from Alex Viola, who works for the United States Golf Association and is a former Maine State Golf Association intern.

“He caught wind of it somehow, and he gave me a call a few days after the qualifier, and he said, ‘I have good news,'” Wyman said. “I guess our site had like 80 players, and most sites that had that many had an extra spot, so I think we were high on the priority list for alternates. I think that’s how it worked out.”

To say the call was unexpected is an understatement. For an alternate to receive a spot requires someone who qualified to back out. Not many players are looking to back out of the U.S. Amateur, or the chance to play at Pebble Beach and Spyglass.

“The change of emotions was amazing, obviously,” Wyman said.

Wyman leaves for California on Friday, and Kannegieser on Saturday.

First, though, is another round at the Charlie’s Maine Open.

Wyman is one of seven players tied for third place at 4-under-par 66, two strokes behind his playing partner Tuesday, Chelso Barrett (Henniker, New Hampshire), and Peter French (Franklin, Massachusetts) at 6-under.

Wyman also was at 6-under until he bogeyed the 17th and 18th holes — his only two bogeys of the round.

Wyman said that he doesn’t have expectations for the U.S. Amateur, so his focus is squarely on the Maine Open, at which he has been the low amateur three times.

“I’ve always kind of played well at Augusta, so it’s definitely one I mark on the calendar, hoping I play well,” Wyman said.

Kannegieser was at 1-over-par after Tuesday. These two days at Augusta Country Club are two rare rounds of Maine golf for the Williams College golfer and skier, who has been busy in Massachusetts this summer.

“I wanted to play this,” Kannegieser said. “I felt like it was a win-win. If I played well, it’s a good confidence booster, and if I didn’t play well, then I know what to work on going into (the U.S. Amateur).”

Kannegieser will see at least a couple familiar faces in California. His Williams College teammate Sam Goldenring also qualified at the Williamstown qualifier. And, of course, his fellow Mainer, Wyman. Kannegieser said he and Wyman were playing partners at the Maine Open several years ago.

“It was awesome to see that he got in (the U.S. Amateur),” Kannegieser said. “I was super-pumped to see that.”

Lucky No. 7

T. Jay Fairlie (Broomhall, Pennsylvania) started his round Tuesday with bogeys on three of the first six holes.

Then magic happened on the seventh hole when he hit a hole-in-one with his 6-iron.

“I just hit it, it landed right of the hole, kicked left, and the guys on the next tee jumped up and down,” Fairlie said. “I kind of saw it, but the sun was up there, you just couldn’t tell.”

The hole-in-one — which Fairlie said is his third — turned around his round.

“It was kind of back-and-forth up to that, I had a slow start, and it was definitely a spark I needed,” Fairlie said.

The 11 holes after his ace were bogey-free and featured three birdies. He finished the round at 3-under.

Heat check

Anybody walking around outside at Augusta Country Club probably talked — and probably complained — about Tuesday’s weather.

It was hot — temperatures reached the 90s — and it was muggy.

For the most part, though, the players said they weren’t affected by the heat.

“It was hot, but I had a cart and there was a lot of water out there, so you just kind of have to deal with it,” Wyman said. “It wasn’t too bad.”

Kevin Benstead (Riverview, Florida) also finished at 4-under. He teed off about an hour after Wyman’s group, and said the heat might have been a factor later in the day.

“It was a little bit hot, so toward the end I might have faded,” Benstead said. “I left a few shots out there, a couple short putts I missed.”

“I live in Florida, so I should be used to it.”

Lightning strikes

There was all kinds of weather in Manchester on Tuesday. Later in the afternoon, at 3:31 p.m., a lightning delay pulled all the remaining players off the course for 30 minutes.

Fairlie was part of one of the several groups still out on the course. He said delays are good for players who are struggling but bad for everyone else.

He was playing well enough that the delay could have been detrimental, but ultimately it had little impact.

“I obviously would have rather played without it,” he said, “but it ended up being fine. It didn’t hurt me at all.”

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