FALMOUTH – You didn’t need to call up the radar screen or hourly forecast on a smartphone to assess the playing conditions at Woodlands Club on Wednesday.

Brian Bilodeau’s scorecard was an ideal barometer and bellwether.

In Tuesday’s opening round of the 95th Maine Amateur, Bilodeau, of Auburn, dropped in four birdies. For Wednesday’s encore, he sank one.

“You just couldn’t miss anywhere out there,” Bilodeau said. “Even good shots didn’t end up in good spots.”

Turns out Bilodeau was plenty good. He’ll get one more opportunity to stare down fickle Mother Nature and try to tame this 6,581-yard monster of a course.

Bilodeau backed up his opening-day 76 with a solid 77. The combined 153 leaves him 10 strokes back of leader and fellow Martindale Country Club member Andrew Slattery going into Thursday’s final round.


The tournament rotates throughout the state, rarely settling at the same course twice in a decade. Woodlands hadn’t hosted the Maine Amateur since 1999.

Rarely do back-to-back championships result in a contrast more stark than the current one. At Augusta Country Club in Manchester, where Bilodeau tied for 14th in 2013, finesse is the key to surviving a course that is roughly 1,000 yards shorter.

“It’s a lot more iron shots into greens. We’re used to hitting wedges. If we have to hit an 8-iron into a green, then it’s a long hole, but here 5- or 6-iron is usually the club,” Bilodeau said. “And you can’t really hit driver here. That’s the tough thing. A lot of 3-woods off the tee, and then you know you’re going to have a long iron into the green. You just can’t get aggressive here. Just play it safe and see what happens (Thursday).”

Bilodeau isn’t alone in hoping the wind settles down before then.

He described it as swirling and not steady. Those gusts countered a change by the Maine State Golf Association to shorten the sixth hole from 560 yards to 500.

The lean Bilodeau unleashed two mighty shots, chipped on and knocked down his lone birdie of the round.


“Six they moved up, but it was dead into the wind, so it was two good balls to get there,” Bilodeau said. “Otherwise, I had a couple of missed putts, but that’s always the case. The greens were slick.”

Time marches on

Fifteen years ago, venerable Ron Brown walked away from Woodlands with his second Maine Amateur title. It came 24 years after his initial victory at Fairlawn in Poland and broke a spell of four runner-up finishes in the interim.

Wednesday, he sat in the scorer’s tent with the brim of his hat pulled down to his brow, looked up at MSGA executive director Nancy Storey and proclaimed, “It’s over.”

Well, at least for this year. Brown backed up an opening-round 82 with an 86 and missed the cut.

With 13-time winner Mark Plummer withdrawing from the event, Brown was the eldest of three past champions in the field by a full generation. Ricky Jones and Eric Crouse are the others.


“I’ll come back if it’s at Kebo Valley or Portland, but that’s it,” Brown said.

When Shorey informed the veteran that she wasn’t sure when his home course at Portland would be in the rotation again (the Amateur appeared there in 2011), Brown swallowed hard and relented.

“Maybe I’ll do it next year,” he said. “Mark will be back.”

Harry’s happy

The old riddle about what they call the guy who graduates last from his class in medical school (“Doctor”) might have applied to Hartford’s Harry Haylock this week.

After shooting 89 and 91, Haylock couldn’t help but smile at the sight of several names beneath his on the big, green scoreboard.


“I knew I had the highest handicap of all the people who qualified, so that’s progress right there,” Haylock said. “And so many times I thought I hit a great shot only to have it just bounce out of bounds.”

Haylock, the golf coach at Leavitt Area High School, was accompanied by his wife, Heidi, one of the state’s top female amateurs, as caddy for the two days.

“What a great experience,” he said. “Tough course, but that only makes us better players.”

Not-so-lucky ball

Chris Cloutier had cause to celebrate Tuesday when he shot a first-round 77 that required only one ball — one that carried the initials of both his daughter and grandfather.

Wednesday, after draining a 12-foot putt to preserve double bogey on the final hole, Cloutier retrieved his ball, cradled it in his left hand while using the other palm to wish his playing partners well … and then heaved the ball into the neighboring pond.


Cloutier shot 92 and missed the cut.

“That wasn’t even fun,” he said.

Leaving on his own terms

The second round was so challenging that at least one player didn’t even care to make it official.

According to an MSGA official, Denver Jalette of Oakland missed his putt on the lip of the 18th hole, picked it up, walked away and didn’t turn in a scorecard.

It goes down officially as a disqualification. Jalette shot an 88 on Tuesday. One of his playing partners, Scott Stone of North Yarmouth, carded one of the lowest rounds of the day with a 74.


Rough cut

Of the more than 20 local players who started the tournament, only four will play Thursday.

Joining Slattery, sixth-place Joe Baker of Norway and Bilodeau is Will Kannegieser of Minot. The 17-year-old Gould Academy senior shot 75 for a two-day total of 154 and is tied for 16th.

“I’m happy. Especially with the wind, that’s a good round. I’ll move up the leader board,” Kannegieser said.

The cut line was 16-over 160, with a total of 43 players advancing.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: