Whether he’s organizing a Maine State Golf Association tournament or lurking among the leaders in one, Mike Doran surveys the scenery and knows that he caught a few good bounces.

“It’s tough in this little corner of the country, but I lucked out and found something good,” Doran said. “I really like what I do. Especially when I can play golf and not run the tournament. That’s why I wanted to keep winning matches. Now I have to work tomorrow.”

Doran laughed. It was Wednesday afternoon, and he was sharing a table and enjoying a beverage with Ricky Jones, to whom Doran had just dropped a semifinal match at the MSGA match play championship.

In addition to his run of three victories in the tournament at Sable Oaks Golf Club, where he’s club champion, Doran, 29, spent weeks tying together all the small details that made the fifth-annual event go off without a hitch.

The Topsham native is director of tournament administration and player development for the MSGA.

“It’s a mouthful. I just say tournament director because it takes less time,” Doran said. “This is my fourth year. I started out running the junior program for a couple years and then moved up the ranks a little bit, to where I am now. I love it. It’s great. I’m around golf all the time.”

Doran organizes major MSGA events, an ambitious summer schedule that includes the Maine Amateur, Maine Open, Match Play, Junior Amateur and Mid-Amateur.

One of his primary responsibilities is setting the pairings, an activity that requires some tiptoeing in a bracket-style format such as the match play showcase.

The camaraderie among the local amateur golf fraternity is such that Doran’s peers can joke with him about any apparent conflict of interest.

“Even though I play in this, I organize it all ahead of time. So my buddies are giving me hell about the pairings they got, thinking I rigged them,” Doran said. “I swear it was all done by the books and the cards fell the way they did.”

Doran did himself no favors this past week. The first step on his road to the semis was a win over Will Kannegieser, who had just won his second consecutive Junior Amateur a week earlier.

Next in line presumably was top seed and Maine Amateur champ Andrew Slattery, but Mike O’Brien sprang the first-round upset. Doran subsequently defeated his fellow Sable Oaks member before returning Wednesday to defeat 2010 winner Joe Alvarez.

“I played great against Joe,” Doran said. “I had four birdies. I was even through the 17 holes we played. I just had it going. I don’t know what happened, but I fell flat against Ricky.”

Doran is part of an MSGA family that includes only five full-time employees and two USGA summer interns.

He put his foot in the door with a similar volunteer role during his years at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass.

“It was part of my scholarship at Wheaton to take an internship somewhere,” he said, “so I called up Nancy (Storey, MSGA executive director) and asked if she wanted someone to work for free that summer, and who’s going to say no to free labor? So that got things going, and now here I am.”

Living the dream, without leaving his roots.

“I’m kind of a golf bum,” Doran said. “We all wear a bunch of different hats. We do a lot of different things. We stay on our toes for nine months of the year, at least.”


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