The most intense week of Maine’s competitive golf season is in full swing.

Saturday marked the final round of the 48th Greater Bangor Open, played at Bangor Municipal.

And the tension and excitement are only beginning. Championship week reaches a fever pitch Monday, when both the 96th Charlie’s Maine Open and the Maine Women’s Amateur tee off about 30 minutes of highway apart.

For the third consecutive year, Augusta Country Club in Manchester is home base for the Charlie’s Maine Open, a 36-hole event attracting 120 professionals and 36 amateurs to the tricky track that is nearly a century old.

Waterville Country Club in Oakland is the site of this year’s Maine Women’s Amateur. This marks the third summer that the Women’s Maine State Golf Association and Southern Maine Women’s Golf Association have combined their championships into one 54-hole event.

If it’s star power you seek, you can’t go wrong with the open. Ten past winners and a hungry pack of young pros provide what is arguably the strongest field in many years.

Evan Harmeling, 26, of Andover, Mass., is defending champion. Harmeling, a graduate of Princeton University, used four birdies and two pars over the final six holes to shoot 7-under 133 a year ago, defeating Geoffrey Sisk and Jesse Spiers by one stroke.

The win completed a sweep of the Massachusetts and Maine state opens for Harmeling, and the $10,000 winner’s share was a measure of good karma. He had donated his Massachusetts winnings to victims of the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Harmeling has the honor of teeing off first at 7:30 a.m. Monday in a group with 2008 winner John Hickson of Topsham, who recently won the State of Maine Tournament at Sugarloaf, and Andrew Slattery of Minot, the Maine Amateur champion.

Sisk, of Marshfield, Mass., won the 1996 Maine Open championship at Point Sebago in Naples. He also is a multi-time qualifier for the U.S. Open. Teeing off with Sisk at 7:40 a.m. is Auburn amateur Brian Bilodeau.

Windham’s Shawn Warren won the tournament in 2004 as a teenage amateur. Last year’s low Maine pro in the tourney, Warren leaves the clubhouse at 7:50 a.m. in a group with Mike Van Sickle, who tamed Bangor Muni with a course-record 60 in the first round of the GBO.

Other past winners and their opening-round tee times are Michael Carbone of Brewster, Mass. (2011, 9:20 a.m.), Ricky Jones of Thomaston (2006, 8 a.m.), Ryan Ouellette of Pflugerville, Texas (2002, 9 a.m.), Jerry DiPhilippo of Gorham (1995, 7:40 a.m.), Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound, Fla. (1991, 8:40 a.m.) and Don Robertson of Austin, Texas (1981, 8:20 a.m.).

Speirs, a Bangor native now living in Memphis, Tenn., leads the list of pros who could break through with a first-time Maine Open title. Jimmy Lytle, Jesse Larson and Eric Egloff, all of whom have knocked on the door in recent years, are in the field, as is longtime ACC member Ryan Gay of Pittston.

They’ll be greeted by a par-70, 6,214-yard Augusta layout that offers birdie and eagle opportunities but favors players with finesse around the greens.

There is no professional cut for the two-day event. The amateur field will be whittled to the low 20 players and ties for the final round.

Rounding out the local contingent in the field are professionals Jace Pearson of Auburn, Dave Bartasius of Poland and Stewart Sibbald of Stratton and amateurs Craig Chapman of Auburn and Roger Williams of Turner.

Emily Bouchard of Saco is a prohibitive favorite to win her third consecutive women’s amateur and fourth overall state title. She recovered from slow starts each of the past two years, winning after opening rounds of 85 and 80.

Bouchard defeated Monica Austin by six shots and Lori Frost by seven a year ago at Brunswick Golf Club. Neither Austin nor Frost is entered this time.

The two players most likely to intervene and brean Bouchard’s streak are hometown favorite Debby Gardner and Minot’s Kristin Kannegieser.

Kannegieser is the only other recent champion in the field, winning the WMSGA state tournament in 2007 and 2010.

Waterville’s vital statistics are similar to Augusta’s. It is also a Donald Ross design, opened in 1916. The par-70 route covers 6,442 yards. The ladies’ course is a par-73 at 5,381 yards.

Norway Country Club members Leslie Guenther (a past SMWGA winner) and Briana Morris both enter the tournament with high aspirations. And Turner Highlands has an impressive six players represented in the field: Prudence Hornberger, Heidi Haylock, Bambi Stevens, Pearl St. Pierre and Jacquie Drapeau.

Neila Nelke of Martindale and Rachel Newman of Springbrook also are scheduled to compete.

There will be no cut in the 83-player field.

Recent Charlie’s Maine Open winners

2013 — Evan Harmeling

2012 — Dustin Cone

2011 — Michael Carbone

2010 — Dustin Cone

2009 — Jim Renner

2008 — John Hickson

2007 — Todd Westfall

2006 — Ricky Jones

2005 — Kirk Hanefeld

2004 — Shawn Warren

2003 — Kirk Hanefeld

2002 — Ryan Ouellette

2001 — James Gilleon

2000 — Benjamin Nicolay

1999 — Kyle Gallo

1998 — Joe Cioe

1997 — Rodney Butcher

1996 — Geoffrey Sisk

1995 — Jerry DiPhilippo

Recent Maine Women’s Amateur winners

2013 — Emily Bouchard

*2012 — Emily Bouchard

2011 — Emily Bouchard

2010 — Kristin Kannegieser

2009 — Alexa Rancourt

2008 — Alexa Rancourt

2007 — Kristin Kannegieser

2006 — Pennie Cummings

2005 — Lori Frost

2004 — Lori Frost

2003 — Abby Spector

2002 — Alyssa Hayes

2001 — Abby Spector

2000 — Abby Spector

1999 — Abby Spector

1998 — Abby Spector

1997 — Abby Spector

1996 — Abby Spector

1995 — Pennie Cummings

*denotes first year of combined state tournament; prior winners were named WMSGA champion


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