It’s his first time in Maine. He’s been assigned to the first group of the opening day in both tournaments during his visit.

And in keeping with the theme, he’s the first name on the leader board, topping Monday’s opening round at Augusta Country Club with a 6-under 64.

“I played in the Greater Bangor Open. I leave here and go to New Hampshire,” Agee said. “It’s really pretty up here. I’ve enjoyed the trip and the golf course. This golf course is a lot of fun.”

Agee, 38, of Leesburg, Va., leads Eric Beringer of Deerfield Beach, Fla., Patrick Pelletier of Lebanon, N.H., and David Hilgers of Hershey, Pa., by a single stroke.

All four leaders played a bogey-free round on a 6,214-yard Augusta layout that produced similar red numbers in a rain-shortened event a year ago.

“The greens were in really good shape,” Beringer said. “As long as you were below the hole, it made it easy to be aggressive with putts.”


Forty-four players are under par and will wake up Tuesday morning with a legitimate chance to win the tournament if they can match or go lower than Agee’s opening round. 

There is a seven-way tie — Steven Smith, Erik Mahany, Andrew Rauscher, Colin Brennan, Jesse Larson, Burgess Houston and Jamison Randall — two shots back at 66.

“It has its own set of challenges. Just because the course is shorter doesn’t mean it can’t bite you,” Agee said of Augusta, which is hosting the tournament for the fourth consecutive summer. “The greens have a significant amount of movement in them, more than we have at home. Our courses at home are well over 7,000 yards. You have big surfaces to hit to. Out here there are smaller surfaces and tree-lined fairways and slope-y greens, and you’ve got to be in the right spots.”

Shawn Warren of Cape Elizabeth, an assistant pro at Falmouth Country Club and the 2004 Maine Open winner as an amateur, is in a logjam at 67 that includes defending champion Andrew Mason and Bangor winner Jon McLean.

Jason Parajeckas, Ryan Zylstra, Eric Atsma, Mark Purrington, Brian Bergstol, Nick Antonelli, Sean Gaudette and Matthew Loubier of Waterville also are 3-under.

Agee and Beringer started on the No. 10 tee and birdied 11 together.


“We played pretty similar rounds. We were both stroking it really well. We made a couple of putts. We were feeding off each other nicely,” Beringer, a Pennsylvania native, said. “It definitely helps to see somebody else. To see a few putts start falling helps you have confidence that your putts are going to start falling.”

After Agee made it back-to-back birdies at 12, Beringer rolled one in at 16.

Both birdied 18 to make the turn at 3-under.

“The greens are receptive, rolling nice,” Agee said. “The ball sits in the fairway for you, too. It’s good.”

Agee built his lead with consecutive birdies at 3, 4 and the 546-yard, par-5 fifth hole. Beringer bookended his back nine with birdies at 1 and 9.

Hilgers got off to a similarly quick start with birdies at 10 and 12. He also sank putts at 3, 5 and 7. Pelletier made his run with birdies in succession at 18, 1 and 2.


Smith and Brennan were bogey-free members of the pack at 66. Larson notched seven birdies.

Augusta is shorter than most of the courses Agee plays on satellite tours in the south, but July’s substantial rains prevented the big hitters from adding that extra 20 or 30 yards to their drives.

“On the greens being below the hole, and off the tee just keeping yourself out of the tree lines,” Agee said of the keys to his round. “It’s soft conditions, so the ball stops and you’re flying it to where you’re looking. You’re not getting a lot of bounce right now.”

Thomas Bean of Manchester, an amateur and Augusta CC mainstay, shot 78 as the third member of Agee and Beringer’s group.

“I enjoyed watching them play,” Bean said. “They were 5-under, 6-under, and it could have been 8, 9 or 10 if they made more putts. I think (Agee) hit every green.”

Agee recalled missing one. Beringer hit 15 of 18 in regulation.


Neither played poorly, or remarkably, at the GBO, which wrapped up Saturday in Bangor. Agee was on the fringe of the top 10, while Beringer tied for 29th.

“I hit some solid shots. You give yourself look after look after look, hopefully you’re going to make some,” Agee said of his maiden voyage at Augusta. “I made a couple and hit some good chips, too. It worked out. Nothing super spectacular, just steady.”

Jesse Speirs, originally from Bangor, is four shots off the lead at 68. Malcolm Oliver of Damariscotta and Jeff Seavey, low Maine pro a year ago, also broke par with 69.

Past winners Kirk Hanefeld and Michael Carbone are at 70 along with 63-year old Augusta member and 13-time Maine Amateur champion Mark Plummer.

Agee’s first-round lead could turn out to be a goldmine if Tuesday’s weather forecast holds. There is a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms most of the day.

Mason’s 62 made him the 2014 champion after the opening day was washed out due to rain. There is no makeup date for the final round, with much of the field scheduled to compete in the New Hampshire Open beginning Wednesday.


Despite all the factors in play, Agee and Beringer weren’t sticking around to watch the scoreboard Monday afternoon.

“I’m going to go to sleep,” Beringer said.

“Same thing. They had me go at 7 (a.m.) at Bangor. I need some rest,” Agee said, holding his index finger downward over his head and pointing at himself. “Old guy.”

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