On two fronts, the state of junior golf in Maine has had an encouraging 2016 season.

The Maine State Golf Association’s Junior Tour came to a close Aug 18 with a season finale event at Belgrade Lakes, a day after seven Maine juniors competed in the New England Junior Golf Amateur Invitational at the Cochecho Country Club in Dover, N.H., where Cole Anderson of Samoset Resort was the star, posting scores of 65-65-70—200 to win the individual championship by a large margin.

Maine junior golfers are not supposed to win tournament championships of this magnitude, which shows that Maine’s junior golfers can play the game, even with the state’s short season.

Overall, the MSGA has had an outstanding Junior Tour season with the New England Amateur being a highlight. MSGA Executive Director Nancy Storey said: “Obviously we’re proud of our New England junior team and especially Cole Anderson.”

She added that the fact that Anderson is just 15, and that Caleb Manuel of Topsham, who tied for 16th is 14, and Austin Legge of Cape Elizabeth, who was 31st, is just 15. It speaks well of the quality in Maine boys’ junior golf.

“I’m also pleased with the number of girls playing this year, and they’re starting to play in a more competitive environment,” Storey said. “Several made the trek to Orono for the Maine Women’s Amateur Championship.”

“Our partnership with allied associations has worked to help grow junior golf in Maine, not just for the MSGA, but also with the PGA Junior League and The First Tee,” Storey said. “I’m really excited about the direction that junior golf in Maine is going.”

The second area in which Maine juniors have had a productive season is in the 10 First Tee programs throughout the state.

Ron Bibeau, executive director of First Tee of Maine, thinks the hundreds of youngsters who participated in those programs not only learned a great deal about life values, a First Tee primary concern, but they played a lot of golf. For children introduced to golf by First Tee, the life lessons are primary, but in a close second is learning how to play the game.

“We feel that we accomplished a lot in both areas,” Bibeau said. “The kids gained a lot of playing experience this summer.”

Life skills and golf playing skills for Maine’s juniors are perfect together.

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The Martindale team of Kyle Bourassa, Bob Blanchette, Neil Mayo, and Ron Blanchette tied for third (71-67—138) Aug. 15 in the two best balls of four gross division of the Maine Chapter, New England PGA Pro-Senior tournament at Waterville.

In a Maine State Golf Association Senior Tour event at Martindale Aug. 15, Ron Blanchette of Martindale was second in individual gross 56-68 with 73/68. Vic Gaudreau of Poland Spring was third with 80/63. In team gross, Bob Blanchette, Ron Blanchette, Doug Craib and Neil Mayo were second (61/56), and in pins, Gaudreau tied for first on No. 17 at one foot five inches.

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If you enjoy golf scrambles, barbecues and fireworks, Harris Golf has a Labor Day Weekend doubleheader for you. On Saturday, Sept. 3, there will be an open house and barbecue at Old Marsh. Information is available at 251-4653 or at [email protected]

The second part of the doubleheader is the on Sunday, Sept. 4 at the Falmouth Country Club. Information on that event can be found at 878-2384 or at [email protected]

A nine-hole scramble at 4:30 p.m. will be held at both courses, following at 6:30 p.m. with music and a barbecue. There is an admission price for children and adults, all of whom are encouraged to stay for the fireworks displays after dark.

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Four area players were in the 32-man field of the Maine State Golf Association Match Play Championship Aug. 16-18 at Brunswick: Craig Chapman of Fox Ridge, seeded 21st, and three from Martindale — Andrew Slattery (12), Joe Baker (3) and Will Kannegieser (14).

Slattery was eliminated in the round of 16 by Judd Parsons of York, while Baker fell in the same round to Kannegieser. Chapman lost in the quarterfinal round, but Kannegieser, a Minot resident who will be a freshman at Williams College later this month, won a pair of matches each day on Aug. 16 and 17 to earn a berth in the Aug. 18 final round. Kannegieser lost to reigning Maine Amateur champ Matt Hutchins of The Woodlands, 1-up in the championship match.

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Mainer Jesse Speirs might be finding out out the hard way that the Web.com Tour consists of a lot of very good players. The first two rounds of the Price Cutter Championship at the Highlands Country Club in Springfield, Mo., Aug. 11-12 certainly brought that home to Speirs, who shot 72-69–141 which was three under par. The cut was five under, so he missed it by two shots, more proof that golf can be a cruel game, as he dropped to No. 152 on the Web.com Tour.

Speirs is in the field of the Knoxville Sentinel Open at the Fox Den Country Club this weekend.

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The second annual Fox Ridge Classic scramble to benefit First Tee of Maine scheduled Aug. 22 at Fox Ridge has openings for foursomes. Registration can be done today by clicking onto www.thefirstteemaine.org.


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