AUBURN – Fair, but tough.

That’s how Fox Ridge Golf Club Superintendent Eddie Michaud wanted the course to play, and that’s how golfers are finding it.

“The pins are in playable spots, but when you get around the holes, watch out,” said former Sugarloaf pro Mike Baker. “You get a three-footer that’s really fast, where you have to play break, if you hit it too hard and you catch the lip it’ll spin out. If you hit too soft, it’s going to take the break. That’s what I found, anyway, and you start doing that a few times, you start thinking too much, going, ‘How do hit this one, now?’ It’s a little nervy when you get those 3- and 4-footers.”

Baker followed a first-round 69 with a 74 on Wednesday and sits in third place.

Crews were out watering some of the greens during the rounds. On others, workers waited for golfers to be done for the day. Either way, golfers still had their work cut out for them, and not just on the putting surfaces.

“This is a tough course for a first outing,” said Rich Parker of Lebanon, N.H. “I was playing defense yesterday. That was my chant, ‘D-fence, d-fence.’ Every shot is around a corner out here, and you don’t know what’s around that corner.”

Parker is holding tough in second place after a 5-under-par 67 on Wednesday.

“You have to put a little steering wheel on a lot of these shots,” said Baker.

Waiting game

Neither Baker nor his playing partner, 15-year-old Ryan Gay of Pittston, had a particularly fun time on the 17th hole Wednesday. Both players hit the ball into the fescue to the right of the fairway on the long par-5, and neither golfer made better than a bogey.

On the next – and last – tee, Baker addressed his ball, but stopped short.

“I walked up to my ball and then saw these,” Baker said, pointing to black boxes marking the teeing area.

The problem?

The black tee markers were not set officially by the Maine State Golf Association, and because a sprinkler was going when officials set the course early in the morning, they had bypassed that particular tee box.

After waiting for 10 minutes, the pair teed off, having had a chance to relax after the previous hole. Gay made birdie on the hole, and Baker just missed his putt for birdie and settled for a par.

Par (almost) for the course

Gay has been a solid golfer for a long time, despite being just 15-years-old. But even from the tips at Fox Ridge this week, the Gardiner High School sophomore-to-be has been impressive.

For one indication how Gay, who is tied for fourth among amateurs, one can turn simply to his scoring statistics. On the longer-than-usual par-5s, of which there are four at Fox Ridge, Gay has totaled 8-over-par through two rounds.

On the rest of the course, a total of 28 holes over two days, Gay is even.

Over (and over) he goes

Ross Negele wanted his ball to go for a ride off the tee Wednesday, but the Cape Elizabeth amateur went for one of his own, instead.

Driving up the left rough on the 18th hole, Negele got too close to a sharp slope, and he – and his cart – tumbled down the incline. The cart rolled twice, and Negele ended up back in the vehicle.

“My back’s a bit sore,” said Negele after finishing his round.

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