Par for the Course: Mid-Amateur created for older amateurs

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There are some notable facts about the Maine State Golf Association’s 27th Mid-Amateur Championship this weekend (Sept 23-24) at Dunegrass.

If you are saying to yourself, “Mid-Amateur? Why?” You might be among many who would question the need for a “mid-amateur” championship, when already the MSGA and the U.S. Golf Association have amateur and senior championship tournaments.

The answer is simple. Back in the late 1970s, the USGA was noticing a trend at its U.S. Amateur. College players were dominating that event. They had more time to play and practice than other amateurs who had jobs and families. So a national championship tournament was created in 1981 for players who were 25 years old on the opening day of that event, which was called the U.S. Mid-Amateur.

In 1991, the MSGA began conducting a state Mid-Amateur, and it has become a popular event with 71 players in this year’s field, which has an average age of 42.3. At age 65, Paul Cloutier is the oldest player in the field, which has an average player index of 3.9. Clearly, hackers are staying home.

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There are six former champions in that field — Ricky Jones (2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010), Joe Alvarez (2006 and 2007), Scott Sirois (2009), Ashley Fifield (2012), Keith Patterson III (2014) and Mike Doran (2015).

Falmouth has the most players in the tournament with 10, followed by Sable Oaks (7) and Biddeford-Saco (6).

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In a very small field Sept. 17 at Natanis, the Maine High School Girls Golf Championship results included: Mia Hornberger (82) of Turner Highlands as runner-up, Ruby Haylock (84) of Turner Highlands in third place, Stephanie Rodrigue (87) of Fox Ridge tied for fourth and Jade Haylock (108) of Turner Highlands in 10th.

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At the MSGA Senior Tour event Sept. 19, held at Sanford, Ricky Plummer of Summit Springs won the age 55-66 gross division (71/63), and the Fairlawn foursome of Bert Roberge, Paul Carpentier, Richard Lane and Mike Labbe (71/56) was third in team net. Cy Thompson of Poland Spring was closest to the pin on the 13th hole at 4-11.

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The Husson men’s team and the Bowdoin women’s team captured their respective championships in the Maine State Intercollegiate Tournament Sept. 16-17 at Martindale.

Gavin Dugas of Husson (68-74—142) was the men’s medalist as his team (Daulton Wickenden, Tyler Morang, Mackenzie Clow and Eric Dugas) shot 598 to finish ahead of Bates (630) and Bowdoin (631) in a 10-team field. Caroline Farber of Bowdoin (72-74–146) was the women’s medalist as her team (Emme McCabe, Diya Chopra and Haley Friesch) shot 637 to outdistance Bates (767) and Husson (807).

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New Hampshire (28) won its fourth consecutive Tri-State competition over Maine (21) and Vermont (14) Sept. 16-17 at New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington Resort.

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The MSGA schedule for the week has the weekly tournament Sept. 29-30 at Riverside, and a Senior Tour event Sept. 26 at Cape Neddick, while the U.S. Kids are at Toddy Brook on Sept. 30.

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This is the final “Par for the Course” column of 2017. It does not mean the golf season is over, so continue to hit them long and straight.

Bill Kennedy

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