Kellen Adickes, 12 years old, has qualified for the Maine Amateur. Andree Kehn/ Sun Journal

POLAND — At first, 12-year old Kellen Adickes had mixed feelings on his 8:10 a.m. tee time at Poland Spring Golf Course on June 20 to qualify for the 100th Maine Amateur, which will be held next month at Portland Country Club.

But at second look he was glad he was going to finish up in time for lunch.

“First I looked at my tee time a couple days before and gosh darn it, I have an early tee time,” Adickes said. “Then I was like, oh great, I have an early tee time because we beat the rain.”

Adickes, who grew up on the Poland Spring course, fired a 5-over 76 and placed in a tie for 12th to qualify for the Maine Am. The Maine State Golf Association said Adickes may be one of the youngest to ever qualify for one of the state’s premier tournaments of the summer.

“I wanted to qualify here, I wanted to play here at the qualifier because I knew the course so well,” Adickes said. “A lot of these other guys may have played one or two rounds except for the members (who played in the qualifier). I have a lot of background knowledge here, which I think gave me a slight bit of an advantage.”

As Mother Nature brought heavy rain, it halted the competition soon after Adickes completed his round and the tournament didn’t resume back until this past Monday. The youngster who now lives in Bristol was quite comfortable he locked himself into the tournament.

“I saw the different scores and there was like (15) people in front of me after I posted the score,” Adickes said. “I was thinking to myself the traditional cut line usually been around 77, and this year it was 79 because of weather conditions. I got in, I felt confident I was able to (qualify) and they had to come back and finish play on Monday.”

His gut feeling was ultimately correct and he didn’t spend Monday morning hitting refresh on the scores.

Adickes didn’t get rattled playing with the adults. His play did open his playing partners’ eyes — Joe Gildart of Val Halla and Greg Pirone of Portland Country Club — as the obvious question came after a couple holes.

“After watching play the first two holes and they asked me, ‘How old are you?’ I was like 12,” Adickes said. “They were like, ‘whoa.’ They saw me rip a few drives after that off the tee and they were like, ‘how?’ They were in shock, they were amazed.”

Gildart also shot a 76 and Pirone missed the cut, but is an alternate for the Maine Am.

Joe Dubois, Adickes’ grandfather, said playing in tournaments since he was about five helped his grandson on the big stage.

“It’s an interesting phenomenon, when kids play a sport, particularly golf since its a social sport, their social skills are off the chart by the time they are in their teens,” Dubois said. “It’s from interacting with people and being a part of something. He started playing when he was like five in tournaments.”

Adickes credits a strong start, paring his first three holes. He was even-par after five following a bogey and a birdie. He made a mini bogey train as he dropped a shot each on holes six through eight en route to carding a 37 on the front nine. He started the back nine with a birdie before a run of pars on 11 through 13. He had back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 14 and No. 15 followed by two more pars. He bogeyed the closing hole.

“I kept a positive mentality, and you are going to do a lot better than you would if you had a negative mentality,” Adickes said. “I just stuck with it and pushed through.”

Having a positive mentality is something he learned earlier this spring at the U.S. Kids Tour Spring Championship at Belgrade Lakes on June 9. He shot a 45 on his opening nine holes. He quickly erased the front nine from his memory bank as he fired off a 32 on the back nine for a 77 to win the tournament by four strokes.

BIG DREAMS

Adickes doesn’t just want to show up to the Maine Amateur, which will begin on July 9 and run until the 11th. He wants to make sure he doesn’t have to return to Poland Spring in June of 2020, where one of the three Maine Am qualifiers are usually held annually. He wants to make the cut, which will automatically put him into next year’s tournament.

Unlike Poland Spring, which got him into the big dance, he’s unfamiliar with Portland Country Club.

“I have a practice round scheduled for (July) 8,” Adickes said. “I am going to study the course and make smart decisions.”

Dubois said Adickes might squeeze another practice round in before July 8th.

Adickes wants to follow in the footsteps of Mainers who are making a name for themselves in college like Cole Andersen, who is going to Florida State to play golf, and Bailey Plourde who just finished her freshman year at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, where she finished sixth at the NCAA Division III Championship.

Dubois hopes Adickes can play at the college level, but Adickes wants to take it one step further.

“Making it on the PGA Tour, that’s it,” Adickes said.


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