Par for the Course: Not much Maine in the Maine Open

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Only four golf professionals from Maine participated in the Charlie’s Maine Open last week at the Augusta Country Club, and that could be a sign of the times.

Ron Bibeau, head pro at Dunegrass and president of the New England PGA, feels that things are different than a quarter of a century ago, when many of the Maine golf pros were regular participants in the Open and the pro-amateur tournaments held throughout the state.

“The head pro job has changed,” he said. “It is hard to get away. Pros are required to stay at the club.”

Why is this?

“They are required to be there to run the business,” Bibeau said. “Some guys are not playing golf at all. It is not so much teaching these days. The pro has to be on top of the business, in terms of marketing and pricing.”

Bibeau commented that 25 years ago there would be waiting lists for professionals to get into pro-am tournaments, but those days are gone.

He said the influx of out-of-state golfers at the Maine Open is a younger group of players who are chasing their dream of being money-making professional players. Those players came from 15 other states — distant states like Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, along with Quebec, Canada and Bermuda. Nearer states included New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Can you believe that there were six players from Florida in the field? And they said they thoroughly enjoyed Maine.

Matthew Campbell of Clifton Park, New York (66-63—129) won the championship on the first playoff hole. That earned him the “Crystal Trophy” and $9,000. He edged Peter French of Franklin, Massachusetts (64-65—129), who took home the silver medal and $6,000.

Jack Wyman of South Freeport (66-70—136) and Will Kannegeiser of Minot (71-66—137) were the top amateur players in the event, which won them Maine State Golf Association pro shop credits of $750 and $600, respectively. Both will be playing in the U.S. Amateur this week at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill.

Geoffrey Sisk of Marshfield, Massachusetts (69-68—137) probably ranked among the decorated veterans in the field, having been a Web.Com Tour player when it was the NIKE Tour.

And for people who do not know what the “Charlie’s” is in the Maine Open, that is Charlie Shuman, who owns Charlie’s Motor Mall in Augusta, which is the tournament sponsor.

And if you missed top Maine tournament pro Shawn Warren of Falmouth, as a contestant, he was elsewhere, having qualified for the 2018 PGA at Bellerive in St. Louis.

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If you are seeking golf entertainment for children, there will be a Family Golf Day on Aug. 19 at Wawenock in Walpole.

At 2 p.m. there will be a clinic and show put on by Dennis Walters, a famed golf trick shot artist, who will wow the kids and adults. At 3 p.m. there will be a nine-hole parent-child scramble with prizes in four divisions — 10 and under, 11-13, 14-17 and 18 and over.

To participate, go to MESGA.org and find the event, which contains a registration link.

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It will be an active week for MSGA tournaments. A Senior Tour event will be at Martindale on Aug. 13, and the Jane Drouin Memorial Women’s Championship is set for Aug. 13-14 at Natanis. A Women’s event will be Aug. 14 at Old Marsh, and the MSGA Match Play Championship is Aug. 14-16 at Falmouth. The week concludes with the Weekend Tour on Aug. 17-18 at Mere Creek.

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