Par for the Course: Brown, Plummer among past champions playing in Maine Am

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This year’s Maine State Golf Association Men’s Amateur Championship is oozing with history.

It is the 99th ever played, and in its field July 10-12 at Belgrade Lakes will be a pair of over-60 players who have won multiple Maine Amateur crowns.

Ron Brown of Portland, having won it twice with 24 years between them (1975 and 1999) is the oldest player at 69 in the 132-man field. The other over-60 player is Mark Plummer, who is the most prolific champion in the tournament’s history, having captured the title 13 times (1973, 1976, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997,2000, 2001 and 2002. Between Plummer’s first championship and the most recent one is a span of a mere 29 years, which tells us that Mark Plummer, the reigning MSGA senior champ, truly is a Maine ageless wonder.

Other past champions in the field are Ricky Jones of Samoset (2003, 2004 and 2013), Andrew Slattery of Martindale (2014), John Hayes IV of Sable Oaks (2015) and defending champion Jack Wyman of Portland, who won last year at Brunswick.

Among those who never have won a Maine Amateur, but rank as contenders is this season’s hottest MSGA golfer, Reese McFarlane of Purpoodock, who has recorded several sub-70 scores. If he heats it up at Belgrade Lakes, watch out.

Belgrade Lakes, however, may not be the course on which any player posts three rounds of low scores. At 6,600 yards for a par 71, it will be a beautiful but tough track. It was selected in 1999 as one of the best new courses in the nation by Golf Digest, and it has been ranked by Golf Magazine as one of the top 100 courses in the United States. Its architect, Clive Clark, was named No. 1 among the top 25 golf course architects in the country by Golf World in 2001.

As stated by one prominent Maine Amateur: “It’s going to play pretty hard. Two-under could win it. Belgrade Lakes is a good test, because there are some good scoring holes, but there difficult holes where you need to watch out.”

Summed up: Belgrade Lakes should give Maine Amateurs all they can handle — and probably more.

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The field for the Maine Amateur is diverse, with players from 12 of the state’s 16 counties. The average age of the 132 players is 34.7, with the oldest being Brown at 69 and the youngest being four 16-year-olds. A total of 46 golf clubs are being represented in the tournament.

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The upcoming MSGA schedule, in addition to the Maine Amateur, includes the New England Women’s Golf Association Championship at The Woodlands on July 9-11,

In the field will be 28 Maine women’s golfers, second only to the 30 playing from Massachusetts.

MSGA Women’s Weekly Better-Ball Tournaments is July 10 at Northport and Dunegrass, and the Men’s Weekly Tournament is July 13 and 14 at Sugarloaf.

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