Mark Plummer’s trademark mustache still curls from his upper lip, meeting his sideburns just below his ears. It’s turning a lighter shade these days, and it hides a few more wrinkles than it used to.

A lot of things have changed for Plummer since he first won the Maine Amateur at Portland’s Riverside Municipal Golf Course in 1973 — including the faces against which he competes — but the fire to march on as a competitive amateur golfer still burns strongly.

Tuesday, when Plummer tees it up at 7 a.m. on Hole 1 at Martindale Country Club in Auburn, he’s not there simply to be there. He’s there to win.

And there’s no better place for the venerable golfer to try and earn is 14th title in 36 years than at Martindale. Each of the last two times the tournament made the trek to the semi-private Auburn layout, Plummer emerged from the cacophony of golfers to earn the top spot.

“I’ve just played there quite a bit over the years, I have a lot of rounds in there,” Plummer said. “I’m really familiar with the golf course, and it sets up fairly well for my game.”

Plummer isn’t the longest of hitters — certainly not anymore, and certainly not compared to the younger players against whom he’s competing — but he’s steady. And accurate.

“They don’t need 20 or 30 yards of roll like I do,” Plummer quipped. “But to win at Martindale, you have to be able to putt on those greens.”

In 1996, Plummer held off a hard-charging Ed Flowerdew and won at Martindale despite firing a final-round 75. In 1989, Plummer interrupted what would have been a state record-tying run by Sean Gorgone at the Auburn track.

“That one was kind of satisfying,” Plummer admitted.”It was right after — the year after — I’d stopped drinking, which was quite a change for me. It was special, in part, for that reason.”

It was also special because Plummer upended his main rival of the time, Sean Gorgone, who’d won the two previous amateurs and who went on to win the next two. Plummer’s victory prevented Gorgone from capturing five in a row.

“That was part of it, too,” Plummer admitted.

Gorgone was a formidable rival for the 13-time champion, and there have been others — Ron Brown Jr., Ralph Noel, and even Ricky Jones.

But the common thread among those golfers is their longevity as amateurs. Even as Plummer continues to compete in — and contend in — the Maine Amateur every year, the cast of characters around him seems to change.

“You don’t have as many career amateur golfers anymore,” Plummer said. “Now guys who are good at a young age, many of them turn pro. there are just so many more options now than there used to be, more opportunities in golf. There are more courses, so more pros. You can get into golf and make a living out of it much more easily now than before.”

Last year, a good friend of Plummer’s, Pittsfield’s Ryan Gay, took home the title. Gay graduated this spring from Gardiner Area High School, and he’s back to defend his title. Jesse Spiers is in the field again, as are Joe Alvarez, Jones, and a host of other, younger contenders.

But Plummer isn’t worried.

“I try to keep myself in fairly good shape, and I suppose experience has its benefits,” Plummer said. “I don’t know if it offsets youth so much, but we’ll find out. It’s fun competing against the younger guys.”

Given Plummer’s track record, and the location of this year’s event, he’s not there just to compete.

He’s there to contend.


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