Monmouth Academy golf coach Don Flanagan is used to coaching in big golf tournaments, including the Class C girls state championship that was won by his daughter Abby last October.

Monmouth’s Don Flanagan on the putting green recently at Springbrook Golf Club in Wales. The Monmouth Academy golf coach is competing in the Maine Amateur at Kebo Valley in Bar Harbor this week. Submitted photo

This week, Don Flanagan steps into the spotlight when he tees off at the Maine State Golf Association’s Maine Amateur Championship at Kebo Valley in Bar Harbor.

“If I am going to coach (golf), it gives me more credibility if I can try to play at a high level, or more so, compete at a high level, I think is the difference,” Don Flanagan said. “I am realistic in my expectations; you won’t see me on the top of the leaderboard on the final day, but that doesn’t mean I can’t go outplay my best golf and compete for every stroke. Hopefully, my players can (learn to) just compete and do the best to your abilities.”

Flanagan feels more pressure from coaching than playing in tournaments.

“I probably get more nervous coaching probably than I do as a player because my desire, my hopes for my players to play well, to perform well is very high — (and) not being able to coach them through shot-by-shot once they hit the course in competition, they are on their own,” Flanagan said. “I am hoping I served them well in the limited practice time we do have because golf in Maine is a very short season.”

Flanagan tries to qualify for the Maine Amateur every year, and this week will be his the fourth time competing in the tournament.

In June, he qualified right on the number, shooting a 6-over-par 78 in the qualifier at Fox Ridge in Auburn. He made a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole — his 18th hole of the day because the MSGA flipped the front and back nines for the qualifier — to earn a spot as one of the day’s 26 qualifiers.

Don Flanagan addresses the ball at a recent round at Springbrook Golf Club in Leeds. The Monmouth Academy golf coach is competing in the Maine Amateur at Kebo Valley in Bar Harbor this week. Submitted photo

He was on pace to get into the Maine Am field quite comfortably until the par-3 fifth hole (his 14th hole of the day).

“I was doing pretty good until I put two (balls) in the pond on the fifth hole. I thought that would have done me in,” Flanagan said. ”I saw Randy (Hodsdon, MSGA rules official) as I was coming up my final hole and I asked him what the number (to qualify) was going to be, and I had to make birdie. I stuck a wedge in about 2 inches, and I tapped (the ball) in with my wedge.”

Earlier in the day, Don’s son, Trevor three-putted on the ninth hole to miss qualifying by one shot. Trevor Flanagan will go to Bar Harbor as an alternate, and if he can’t get in the field, he will caddy for his father.

Don said it was a learning experience for Trevor — a member of the St. Joe’s golf team — who will have many more opportunities to qualify for the Maine Am.

Don Flanagan is excited to tee it up in the same tournament with the likes of Caleb Manuel, who played at Mt. Ararat and who recently qualified and played in the Korn Ferry Tour event at Falmouth Country Club, and other recent or current high school players.

“That’s pretty neat, that’s the thing about golf, it’s welcoming for players of all ages and all types,” Flanagan said. “There has been a good youth movement here in the state of Maine in golf. There’s a lot of great players — and not to take away from the guys who have doing it for years because they can still get it around. Some of these kids today, both on the men’s and women’s side, it’s fun to watch. It’s great to cheer for, too. That’s the thing, unlike other sports where you sometimes find yourself root against the other team, you get to cheer for everyone, even if it’s one of these young kids. You root even harder for them to succeed. It’s such a cool thing.”

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