The Charlie’s Maine Open starts today at the Augusta Country Club with a Pro-Am event benefiting the scholarship of the Maine State Golf Association.

This is the sixth consecutive year that the Open is being held at Augusta, and the 13th time in the history of Maine’s most prestigious professional golf tournament. Ted Brown, last year’s champ, is hoping to repeat as players compete for the $9,000 championship check.

Area players in the field are pros Jerry DiPhillippo of Fox Ridge and Chad Hopkins of Apple Valley. Geoffrey Sisk of Massachusetts is a past champion who has won lots of money on mini tours.

The two round championship will be played July 24-25.

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This columnist returned to Maine July 14 from four days in New Jersey, where there was a media firestorm of opposition to conducting the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J. Because of President Donald Trump’s anti-feminist remarks over the years, many media members who broadcast and write their opinions were blasting the United States Golf Association for allowing a Trump golf course to host the tournament.

We asked some Maine female golfers to comment on this, but only a few decided to speak their mind.

Nancy Storey, executive director of the Maine State Golf Association, which is in the process of merging with the Women’s Maine State Golf Association and the Southern Maine Women’s Golf Association, has an interesting point of view on the subject of Trump National as the U.S. Women’s Open tournament site.

“I fully agree with the players,” she said. “It’s not about politics — it’s about golf. The focus should be on the incredibly talented women who competed, not on some sensationalist view that the media — which needs to fill content 24/365 — has drummed up to add content.”

“Sports, including golf, are an escape for players and fans and I feel most people would like to leave politics out of play,” said Jackie Rybeck of Minot, president of the Fairlawn Women’s Association, secretary of the Fairlawn Membership Golf Association, and an avid golfer and a freelance writer. “It would also be a disfavor to deny these elite, women golfers to play one of the top-100 courses in the world. We enjoyed the best U.S. Open ever at Bedminster because the players were allowed to focus on its undulated greens, forced carries and water hazards.”

A golf official who asked not to be identified took a different point of view.

“I can’t stand Trump,” she said. “I have a real strong feeling about the man. I should have had an opinion on this issue, but until now, I did not. I was watching wondferful golf.”

Because the tournament site was selected long before Trump became president, the USGA probably could not turn back. Finding an alternate site in the short time period between the November election and the dates of the Open, would have been an impossible task.

And if you ignored the issues raised about Trump, you probably agreed with many women who thought it was outstanding golf and worth the watch.

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The Maine State Golf Association is conducting the Charlie’s Maine Open Pro-Am today at Augusta with the two-round tournament July 24-25. The MSGA Weekend event will be at Bath July 28-29. Junior Tour events will be July 26 at Gorham and July 27 at Natanis. The Maine Women’s Amateur is July 24-26 at Martindale.

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Harry Haylock of Turner Highlands won the Flight 2 Individual Gross championship (81/67) during the MSGA Weekend Tour event at Sugarloaf July 14-15.

Bill Kennedy
Bill Kennedy

Bill Kennedy

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