Cam Marquis stands on the balcony of the clubhouse at Fox Ridge Golf Course in Auburn where he works in the pro shop Wednesday afternoon.
AUBURN — Cam Marquis’ front nine at the Maine Amateur Qualifier on June 21 at Poland Spring wasn’t great.
But it wasn’t terrible, either. The round as it stood would likely have qualified the young golfer for the 98th annual Maine Amateur at Brunswick Country Club this week, despite a slower start — he bogeyed the opening hole before birding the par-3 sixth, and then bogeyed again on the ninth at the Donald Ross-designed gem.
He didn’t panic after the bogey at the turn though, knowing as he was where he wanted to be, hovering around par. As it turned out, that bogey on the ninth was his last of the round.
Marquis made a charge on the back nine, draining four birdies and five pars to shoot the low round of the day with a 68, three shots ahead of the second-place finisher Joshua Trivilino (71).
What was the key to his success? Keeping the ball in play — something with which the average golfer struggles — and a hot putter.
“It wasn’t easy, a lot of putts were dropping and trying to hit the fairway was the key part of my game,” Marquis said. “Especially off the tee, I was hitting the ball well, struck it perfectly.”
Marquis’ four birdies came on four of the six par-4s on the back, and he parred the two par-5s on the course. The second par-5 on the back — the 16th — he struggled off the tee. He played conservatively and layed up on his second shot on the 531-yard hole. He had a 2-iron for his third and scrambled to make par.
He had no idea how well he was doing compared to the rest of the field until one of his playing partners spoke up.
“I didn’t quite know, once hit No. 15 I was talking to (Tom Bean) who I was with and he said, “I am (looking good) to come in the top five. My eyes widened, I didn’t believe him. Come to find out, it was true.”
Bean finished for a tied for ninth with a +5 and Marquis’ other partner, Christopher Burns, just missed the cut at +10.
A familiar course
Marquis, a 2013 Lewiston High school graduate, is familiar with Brunswick Country Club — it was Brunswick High School’s home course during high school competition.
“Brunswick, I played there multiple times,” Marquis said. “I played there a couple of times already this year. I think, it’s not going to be a breeze, but I think it’s right in my wheelhouse compared to York last year, where I kind of went in blind. I didn’t know quite everything about the course, tee shots and greens, it kind of got to me.”
He missed the cut in the 2016 Maine Amateur after an 84 and 79 at York Golf & Tennis Club.
Marquis expected to get a few more rounds at Brunswick in before the Maine Amateur. He also has the benefit of playing on a challenging course on a weekly basis — he works and plays at Fox Ridge.
“I think it actually helps me a lot,” Marquis said. “There’s a lot of good holes out here that really make Brunswick easier to me. A lot of shot shaping holes here at Fox Ridge. I think the greens here at Fox Ridge are a lot harder than Brunswick right now.”
College got the competitive juices flowing again
Marquis spent one year at the University of Southern Maine, where he was a member of the golf team, before going to school closer to home at Central Maine Community College.
Once he graduates from CMCC he hopes to enroll into the PGA Apprentice Program.
That one year though at USM made him want to play golf at high level.
“College made me want to do the MSGA and compete for fun,” Marquis said. “I’ve loved it ever since and I try to do it every day at least. Whether it’s games on the weekend, playing against members here at Fox Ridge, playing for money or just with friends.”