MANCHESTER — Eric Egloff shot 65 and put himself in position to win the Charlie’s Maine Open on Tuesday morning at Augusta Country Club.

Even so, the veteran player from Maryland — one year shy of eligibility for the 50-and-up Champions Tour — admitted that he was torn up about Monday’s 3-under 67 that didn’t count.

He ached for fellow player Mike Van Sickle, who was a chip away from a possible course record 59 that torrential rains also washed away. And even Egloff’s own road-weary bones believed that if only one round was going into the books, the one he weaved prior to the severe weather a day earlier possibly should have been it.

“It was tough couple of days,” Egloff said. “I’m staying up in Bangor, which is about 75 miles. Up at 4:30 (Monday), come down. We’d just finished our round before they blew the horn, and then I drove 80 miles back in a rainstorm to find out they scrapped the round.”

After receiving that news, Egloff said he called Maine State Golf Association officials, lobbying for Monday’s round to resume from where it was suspended when the lightning sirens blared.

But it was too late. And in the case of Egloff and his alarm clock, made Tuesday start too early. He endured the rarity of a 7:40 a.m. tee time on back-to-back days.

“It’s a tough call for them, because they have to try to do the right thing for everybody and make it fair for the whole field,” Egloff said. “Restarting it made it tougher on the early guys, because we had to come back and do it again this morning.”

Despite the toll of two days of heavy rain on the heels of a harsh winter, Egloff said the par-70, 6,214-yard Augusta track was a fair test.

“Considering all the weather,” he said, “it was wet in some spots, but it actually played pretty nicely.”

Airing of grievances

Only six threesomes completed Monday’s round before it was washed out by torrential rain.

That decision met with criticism from many players, most notably Van Sickle, who used social media to vent his displeasure.

“Look like they really want a Mainer to win this,” Van Sickle wrote on Twitter. “Feels like a punch to the gut. I feel sick.”

Van Sickle, who also shot 60 in the opening round of last week’s Greater Bangor Open, stumbled to 70 Tuesday and continued his online onslaught.

“Put us on the course way too early,” he wrote. “All the bunkers were filled with water, greens were mush. Needed a couple more (hours) of work.”

MSGA executive director Nancy Storey defended the decision to do away with Monday’s scores and have everybody start fresh.

The blue skies and breeze in the background may have underscored her point.

“Whenever you have a significant change in conditions,” she said, “you’re left with no choice but to wash the round.”

Right at home

Jason Gall, who tied for seventh and was low amateur with a 4-under 66, benefited from local knowledge. He is an Augusta Country Club member, and the man who doubles as his caddy and father has played at Augusta for more than 60 years.

His bogey-free route began on the 10th and included back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 and again at 3 and 4.

“It could have been a lot lower,” Gall said of his score. “I missed four 15-feet-or-less putts coming in, right in a row on 6, 7, 8 and 9. It was my front nine. But I hit the ball great and made four birdies.”

Every Maine Open field is a diverse lot.

This year’s roster of 156 covered three generations, from Manchester’s own recent high school graduate, Luke Ruffing, to past winner Don Robertson, a Texas professional in his 60s.

Players hailed from 20 states, plus Canada and Bermuda.

Being one of the 36 Maine amateurs granted entry into the mix might make a player feel like a longshot, but Gall and Joe Alvarez of North Berwick (68) turned the comfort and familiarity into an equalizer Tuesday.

“I think if you get off to a good start, it (the home-course advantage) is good. If you get off to a rough start, it’s not good,” Gall said. “I feel like some of the pressure is kind of off us amateurs when we play the pros, because we have jobs and we can go home and don’t have to worry about it. It frees us up to play and not feel the pressure.”

His one anxious moment came on the 15th hole (his sixth of the day), where Gall didn’t locate his approach shot as planned.

“I got up and down from the left side of the green, which is almost impossible there,” Gall said. “That kept the round together, and then from there it was smooth sailing.”

Alvarez matched Gall with four birdies.

“When I got in trouble, I got it back to a position where I could make par. That happened a couple of times, but I was pretty steady,” Alvarez said. “I was playing well (Monday) and kind of kept it going today, and the pro-am went well. It’s been a good couple of days here.”

In Sunday’s pro-am, Alvarez was both low amateur and part of the winning foursome.

Tri-county travails

The small delegation of Lewiston-Auburn area players in the field met with mostly middle-of the-pack results.

Jace Pearson, a teaching pro at Martindale Country Club who shot an opening-round 67 here in 2013, never fully recovered from bogeys on three of his first four holes. He finished with a 1-over 71.

“Too many bogeys and too few birdies, that’s for sure,” Pearson said. “I had a couple of birdie opportunities, but a couple is not nearly enough to get my score where it needs to be.”

Pearson was paired with Jimmy Lytle and Jesse Larson in the first group to tee off from No. 10 at 7:30 a.m.

The course was still saturated in places before the heat of the noonday sun did its job.

“I’d like to say it was the conditions, but I played the same as I played yesterday, and pretty much the same score,” he said.

Maine Amateur champion Andrew Slattery was the top local player at even par 70. Auburn’s Brian Bilodeau (Martindale, 73) and Craig Chapman (Fox Ridge, 74) followed.

Turner’s Roger Williams also shot 74 Jeff Leonardo of Turner fired a 78, with Dave Bartasius of Poland at 79.

Same time, next year

MSGA and sponsor Charlie Shuman announced that the tournament will return to Augusta Country Club for a fourth consecutive year in 2015.

“I’ll be back,” winner Andrew Mason said. “You can’t control the weather. It’s a beautiful course. I don’t know why it would ever go anywhere else.”


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