Some of Maine’s finest amateur golfers will filter down to the southern point of the state this week for the 97th Maine Amateur Championship. York Golf & Tennis Club is this year’s host of the Maine State Golf Association-sanctioned event, which runs Tuesday through Thursday.

One of the oldest courses in the state, the Donald Ross-designed course will be hosting the Maine Amateur for the second time, and the first since 1978.

“It’s one of our old, classic golf courses, and it’s a beautiful venue,” MSGA Executive Director Nancy Storey said. “We wanted to have it there in the past but we just couldn’t work out a time that was good for both York and for us. It’s good that we’re finally going back.”

The Maine Amateur is 54-hole, stroke-play tournament featuring 132 competitors. After the second round the field will be cut down to the top 40 players, plus any ties.

Defending champion John Hayes IV, from Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth, will help kick off the event when he joins an opening group that also includes Maine Mid-Am champ Mike Doran and Maine Senior Am champ Gary Manoogian. Hayes IV held off 13-time champ Mark Plummer at Waterville Country Club in last year’s tournament.

Hayes IV and 2014 champ Andrew Slattery, a West Minot native who plays out of Martindale Country Club in Auburn, are part of a multi-generational gap between the young contenders and veterans like the 64-year-old Plummer. The youngest player entered in the tournament is just 15 years old, and the oldest is 70.

“There’s a lot of history and future there,” Storey said of the field.

Plummer won his first Maine Am in 1973 — well before many of the competitors were born. His last came in 2002, which capped off a stretch of three straight.

“He’s just amazing,” Storey said of Plummer. “Golf is like taking a shower — if you don’t do it every day, you stink. And he plays it every day. And that’s a direct quote from him.”

This year’s venue could help Plummer add to his haul. Storey noted that being an older course, York Golf & Tennis isn’t as long as some of the recent courses at which the Maine Am has been played.

But that doesn’t mean it will be an easy two or three days for competitors.

“It’s a very challenging course,” Storey said. “The first hole, right out of the opening chute, you have a long — like a 200-and-something-yard — par 3, with out of bounds left. And then on the second and third holes there’s blind tee shots on both holes, and those aren’t even the most difficult holes on the golf course. There’s water around a lot of holes, there’s a lot of hazards.

“The greens are tough, like all Donald Ross golf courses.”

There will be competitors from 47 different MSGA member clubs, and Martindale will be one of the most-represented, with six players calling that course home. Sable Oaks in South Portland and Val Halla in Cumberland have 10 players each entered in the tournament.

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97th Maine Amateur Championship

When: Tuesday-Thursday
Where: York Golf & Tennis Club, York
Who: 132 players, with top 40 plus ties making it to final round
What: 54-hole, stroke-play tournament
Defending champion: John Hayes IV, Cape Elizabeth

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