AUBURN — On his way from the 18th green to the scoring table, Mike Doran’s shoes squished. Water dripped from his head faster than if he’d just stepped out of the shower. His clothes soaked through, Doran plopped himself down on the damp fabric chairs, shook his head and started laughing.

“Glad that’s over,” Doran, of Portland, said.

The Sable Oaks golfer was also happy with his score.

Despite finishing among the final 10 groups in the middle of a driving rainstorm, Doran carded a 74 Tuesday, putting him within three shots of the lead at the 90th Maine Amateur golf championship at Martindale Country Club on Tuesday.

“We had the umbrella open from 12 on,” Doran said.

Two over through three holes, Doran stopped the bleeding early, and held on for dear life.

“I bogeyed 11 and 12 like almost everyone else has,” Doran said. “I found myself taking 80 percent swings just to keep the ball in the fairway.”

On the final hole, with a small lake forming in the cart path beside the par-5 18th green, Doran muscled a 4-iron shot onto the green and two-putted for birdie.

“Its a great start,” Doran said, “but those guys in front of me are pretty good.”

“Those guys” are defending champion Ryan Gay and perennial contender Jesse Speirs, who both shot even-par 71 to share the first-round lead.

Speirs played nearly rain-free golf, while Gay sloshed through three or four rain-soaked holes before the first wave of showers passed late Tuesday morning.

“I’m just happy I didn’t do anything disastrous,” Gay said. “Even’s not bad out there, especially in conditions like this. You’re getting some crazy lies in the fairways.”

Gay had bogey at 12 and double bogey at 13 before getting a friendly kick off the trees at 14, which helped steady the young defending champion salvage par.

Jesse Speirs of Bangor also earned a friendly bounce, his on the tough-as-nails par-5 12th hole.

“I had about 400 yards in after I pulled my drive into the trees left and it kicked out,” Speirs said with a laugh. “I still made my par, though.”

Speirs righted the ship from there and closed with an all-too-easy birdie on the 18th to finish his first round even with Gay at 71.

“It is nice to get a good first round in there,” said Speirs, who’s a notoriously slow starter at the Maine Amateur.

After dodging several rain showers throughout the day, the skies opened just as the final groups of the day turned to the back nine. Already saturated, the course held up well. Despite the afternoon deluge, every golfer in the field finished the first round.

The possibility remains that the tournament may play on into Friday, though, depending on Wednesday’s weather.

“We have an obligation to play in three days if we can,” MSGA Executive Director Nancy Storey said, “out of respect for the host club and its members. But we can’t force it if the course is unplayable because of the weather.”

Meanwhile, Speirs’ 18th began with a booming drive that landed in what is usually an area into which members hit to lay up.

“The hole’s playing about 450 and I had 120 in,” Speirs said.

After taking relief from some unmarked ground under repair, Speirs spun a wedge to about 20 feet and just missed his eagle putt.

“I just didn’t give it enough gas,” Speirs said. “I was leaving those short all day. You don’t want to come up short, but you don’t want to have three feet coming straight down the hill, either.”

Gay also closed with a birdie at the 18th.

After jumping out to 3-under-par with the only birdie of the day at the par-3 11th, Gay ran into the same troubles much of the field fought through on Nos. 12 and 13.

“The rain started coming down and I just lost my focus,” Gay said. “I hit my first 11 greens in regulation, and then I missed my next four.”

Back at even par, Gay smacked his tee ball on 14 into the woods, only to get a generous kick. he made par there and fought through a bogey on the 15th before finishing strong at No. 18.

Jones, meanwhile, also put together a solid round, carding a 3-over 74 that included a double bogey on the par-3 ninth. Jones was even on the back nine, a rare feat Tuesday.

Plummer ran into trouble on the back, too, with bogeys at 11, 12, 14 and 15, before a birdie on 18 got him back to 6-over 77.

Local knowledge didn’t appear to help out much Tuesday, either. Curt Jordan was the low Martindale golfer in the first round, posting a 6-over 77 one week after playing a solid pair of days at the Maine Open at Riverside in Portland.

“It helps to know your way around, but you still have to hit the shots,” Jordan said. “The rough is deep out there and you pretty much can’t hit it in there and hope to still make par. It’s tough stuff.”

Scott Sirois of Val Halla, playing in the third group of the day, and Jason Gall of Augusta Country Club, in the second group, finished Tuesday tied at 2-over-par 73, along withe Joe Alvarez, who played in the group in front of Speirs, and Tim Poulin, who finished in the evening downpour.

The top local finisher Tuesday was Ted Stratman out of Fox Ridge at 76.

Maine Amateur, Round 1

By the numbers

1,036 – Number of pars

830 – Number of bogeys

176 – Number of double bogeys

149 – Number of birdies

1 – Number of eagles

12 – Number of the hardest hole on the course, at 6.096 strokes per golfer

18 – Number of the easiest hole, at 4.872 strokes

14 – Number of golfers who scored worse than double bogey on No. 12

0 – Number of golfers who didn’t finsh due to rain


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