The major championship season for Maine golf is upon us.

Two near-century-old gems return to the Maine State Golf Association schedule this summer. Waterville Country Club in Oakland draws the curtain a week from Tuesday, July 7, with the opening round of the Maine Amateur. In August, the Match Play Invitational returns to the Twin Cities for the second time in three summers, this time at Martindale Country Club in Auburn.

There will be ample opportunity to catch top-flight golf in the southern corridor of the state, as well, with the Maine Women’s Amateur, Junior Amateur and Mid-Amateur covering the map in Cumberland and York counties.

To kick off our weekly, summer golf page, here’s the skinny on what to expect and where to find it in the coming weeks:

July 7-9, Maine Amateur, Waterville CC, Oakland. You might see lower scores and more names within shouting distance of the leader board at the MSGA’s headline event for amateurs this summer. Last year’s showcase was played at Woodlands Club in Falmouth, which proved a ferocious test for the state’s best. It suited Andrew Slattery of West Minot just fine. Slattery, who has played serious competitive golf for less than a decade, held off Bryant University standout Joe Walp of Portland by one shot for the biggest win of his life. Ricky Jones, Matt Greenleaf, Joe Alvarez and ageless Mark Plummer will be players to watch throughout the 54-hole test.

July 27-28, Charlie’s Maine Open, Augusta CC, Manchester. Everyone involved hopes for a kiss from Mother Nature this year after torrential rain abbreviated the 2014 open to a single-day, 18-hole affair. Playing in one of the final groups of the day, Andrew Mason of Pennsylvania fired a sizzling 62 and won by two strokes. The tournament returns to the short, tempting Augusta track for the fourth consecutive season after a 52-year hiatus. Dustin Cone (2012) and Evan Harmeling (2013) are other recent winners.


July 27-29, Maine Women’s Amateur, Biddeford-Saco CC. After many years as two separate tournaments, the showcase for female golfers has gained plenty of luster with all the top player competing under one umbrella in recent years. Leslie Guenther of Norway Country Club gave away the lead to Mary Brandes, took it back and outlasted a rain delay for her first victory under the new format. It was a mild surprise. Emily Bouchard, who dominated in 2013 and 2014, finished fifth place, seven shots off the pace, in her bid for a third consecutive title. Bad news for the field this season: The tournament moves from Waterville to Biddeford-Saco, Bouchard’s home course.

August 5-6, Maine Junior Amateur, Toddy Brook GC, North Yarmouth. Will Kannegieser of Minot has won the boys’ senior division of this tournament in back-to-back seasons. He defended the title with a two-shot victory over Bangor’s Drew Powell at Val Halla in Cumberland. Kelsie Dessent of Fairfield was a runaway winner in the girls’ overall competition a year ago.

August 11-13, Match Play Invitational, Martindale CC, Auburn. Here’s the tournament where you can expect the unexpected, with high seeds falling early and often. In the first five years of this tournament — begun by popular demand of the players after the Maine Amateur returned to a stroke-play format — nobody has appeared in the final more than once. Bitten by the format in years past, Jones put together four birdies in the 2014 final and claimed one of the state’s few crown jewels that had eluded him, needing only 14 holes to dispatch Jeff Cole. Martindale welcomes the top 32 MSGA performers this summer after the tournament’s previous visits to Augusta, Natanis, Fox Ridge and Sable Oaks.

August 26-27, Maine Senior Amateur, Brunswick GC. Lowell Watson ended a 13-year drought between titles, prevailing at Penobscot Valley last summer. Watson had been knocking on the door with finishes of second and third since the turn of the decade. Plummer picked up the win when the tourney last appeared at Brunswick in 2012.

Sept. 12-13, Maine Mid-Amateur, Val Halla CC, Cumberland. Keith Patterson carded the only under-par round of the 36-hole tournament to win his first major MSGA individual title a year ago, when the tournament was played at York and The Ledges. Jones has won it six times. Alvarez owns three titles.

Sept. 18-20, Tri-State Matches, at Manchester CC, Vermont. Maine’s delegation finally took home bragging rights two years ago, but New Hampshire gained a measure of revenge in 2014.

Other events to watch: Mixed Championship at Boothbay Harbor, July 12; U.S. Amateur qualifier at The Ledges, July 14; Class B and C Championship at Dutch Elm, July 14-15; New England Amateur at Baker Hill CC, Newbury, N.H., July 21-23; New England Junior Amateur, Purpoodock Club, Cape Elizabeth, August 16-18; Maine Four-Ball Championship, Fox Ridge GC, Auburn, Sept. 1-2; New England Senior Amateur, Oyster Harbors, Massachusetts, Sept. 29-30.

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