Pin placements keep golfers fighting par

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OAKLAND – The greens weren’t U.S. Open-fast – not even close.

And the rough wasn’t as long as it could have been, thanks in part to the dry weather over the last month.

And the fairways, while tight in some places, weren’t overly long, nor were they overly tight.

But somehow, just one red number appeared on the final list of scores after one round at the Maine Amateur.

Credit the Maine State Golf Association and a deceptively tough Waterville Country Club for that.

“Putting is crucial out here,” Fox Ridge golfer Jace Pearson said. “The course is running absolutely fantastic, the greens are holding, they’re running well. Par was a good number out here today.”

Lance Libby, the first-round leader at 1-under 69, had the advantage Tuesday. He works at Waterville Country Club, and has for six years.

“That certainly helped,” Libby admitted.

“There were a couple of pin placements where the hole locations are in places where you need to know where the breaks are,” Pearson said.

Good finish

Pearson, meanwhile, earned one of the loudest ovations at No. 18 Tuesday after rolling in his final putt from the front edge of the green into the cup, which was 18 feet from the back edge of the 81-foot green.

“That was definitely a boost,” Pearson said. “The putter went through a cold spot there in the middle of the round, and I was able to scrape it around to a 74, so I have a good feeling coming back here tomorrow, shooting a low number and getting back in the hunt.”

Missing in action

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Mark Plummer has become a pretty good judge of golf talent over the years. If he’d have handicapped this year’s Maine Amateur, three golfers he would have most certainly placed in his Top 5 were Jesse Speirs, Shawn Warren and Mike Norris.

Just one problem: Warren turned pro, Speirs is playing in the U.S. Public Links Championship in Illinois, and Norris is MIA.

“Shawn, Jesse and Mike would certainly be three of the top five favorites,” Plummer said. “You take them right out of the top, that opens it up right at the top. But there’s still plenty of good players, that’s for sure.”

Plummer is still among that group, too. After one round, Plummer is one shot back after firing an even-par 70.

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