AUBURN – It was not exactly an auspicious beginning for Toby Spector.

The Waterville native bogeyed his first hole Wednesday and wasn’t exactly on the way to bettering his first round performance in the Charlie’s Maine Open.

It didn’t take long for the Skidmore College senior to reverse that fortune. By his fifth hole, Spector was already on a roll.

“I birdied the par-4 up the hill and then I birdied the par-3 down the hill,” said Spector. “So I had two in a row there. So I felt if I got a couple more pars to finish out the front, I’d be fine. I ended up birdying nine, too. So that’s when I knew it could be good.”

Spector finished with a 4-under 68. It wasn’t the best round of the day, New Hampshire’s Richie Parker had a 66, but Spector’s round vaulted him back up the leaderboard. Spector finished the day just two shots off the leader. Shawn Warren’s two-under had him at 141 with a handful of contenders at 142 and 143. Spector had the best two-round total of any amateur.

“It puts me in contention,” said Spector. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I can’t ask for anything else.”

Spector shot a three-over 75 in the first round on Tuesday. He admits he was pretty pleased with that result, even though he was six shots off the lead.

“75 is great for here,” said Spector. “I was very happy with the 75. This course is very tough. I’ve been doing this thing where I shoot myself out of a tournament in the first round.”

Typically this summer, Spector has taken some downtime between tournaments. The drawback to enjoying that time off would quickly become evident when he hit the course again.

“The first day there would be some rust,” said Spector.

Though he was satisfied with his round Tuesday, he noticed a significant difference in his play Wednesday.

“I hit a lot better iron shots,” he said. “I hit more greens. Early in the round yesterday, I was hitting everything thin and leaving everything on the front of the greens. The pins would be in the back, and I’d three-putt from there.”

Despite his bogey on his first hole Wednesday, Spector quickly got some momentum with a birdie on No. 12 and another on No. 13, a par-3. Golfers have been starting on the 10th tee at Fox Ridge and played the back nine first.

“It really boosted my spirits as well as my score,” said Spector, who shot a 67 for the best round of the Maine Amateur last month at the Waterville Country Club but finished one stroke behind winner Eric Higgins. “I just felt like I made great iron shots on both of those birdies. That just boosted the rest of my iron play all day.”

Spector added birdies on the third and fifth holes and had a bogey on the sixth.

“I double-bogeyed it yesterday and bogeyed it again today,” said Spector of the sixth hole, which was his 15th hole of the day each round.

He finished the round with a nice chip from above the green and escaped with a par on the par-5 ninth hole.

Putting himself amidst the final groups for Thursday’s final round, Spector hoped to sustain his momentum even after his round ended Wednesday.

“I’m going to go hit some balls this afternoon and try to keep everything going,” he said. “I hit my three-wood great today. I want to keep that going and keep my irons going and relax for tomorrow.”

Spector had rounds of 79, 80 and 77 last year and finished well off the pace. To be in the hunt in one of the state’s biggest tournaments is just the kind of result he’s been gearing his golf career toward. He’ll be the captain of his Skidmore golf team this year, a program that is among the top 10 in the country in Division III.

“Ultimately I’m working toward this,” said Spector. “Right now, I’m in college and trying to win some tournaments.”


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