Reese McFarlane and John Hayes play golf out of Purpoodock, so one would think that they play in four-ball tournaments often.

It is believed, however, that Aug. 25 at Great Horse in western Massachusetts was a first for them. If not, the result of their play in Massachusetts definitely was a first. The twosome, both of whom grew up in Cape Elizabeth, qualified at Great Horse for the ninth USGA Four-Ball Amateur, which will be held next May on the Cassique Course of the Kiawah Island Golf Club.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

They combined to shoot a 6-under 66 and then waited nearly five hours to see if they had qualified for one of three spots for the 2023 national tournament.

It turned out that three other teams had carded a 66, so there was a playoff. On the second playoff hole, Hayes sunk a lengthy birdie putt, which made it possible for them to journey to South Carolina next May for the National Four-Ball Championship.

What is significant about this accomplishment is that among the top nine teams in the qualifier, eight of them with the best scores of the day were from Massachusetts. McFarlane and Hayes were the only Maine twosome in the top 10. It is not often that Maine golfers qualify for any USGA national championships, but it is the second time it has happened this year, with Caleb Manuel of Brunswick having made it into the U.S. Open.

This does not translate to Maine becoming a United States golf mecca, but it does put the Pine Tree State on the map.

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For Hayes, who has been a significant player in Maine amateur events for more than a decade, it is not a USGA first. It is his fourth qualification for a USGA championship event, having been in the 2016 U.S. Amateur and in the U.S. Mid-Amateur championship in 2017 and 2019.

McFarlane does not have a Maine State title to his credit, but he did win the New England Amateur in 2018 at the Portland Country Club. Hayes is a veteran Maine state champion, having won the Junior, Amateur and two Mid-Amateur crowns.

Hayes is 32 and McFarlane is 25, so they did not go to school together. They are young enough to have a bright future as a twosome.

Apologies to readers who might ask if other Maine twosomes over the past eight years have qualified for the USGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship. This writer was unable to obtain an answer to that question.

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The Aug. 4 scramble, run by Fore A Cause at Summit Springs, was a huge success when you consider that Summit Springs is a nine-hole course, meaning that a field of 19 teams was a maximum number. The final tally was that more than $12,000 was raised for food to feed children in the MSAD 17 school district.

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There is no question that this is a worthy cause, so congratulations to chairperson Bunny O’Leary and her committee. Persons interested in supporting Fore A Cause should contact O’Leary at [email protected]

*****

MSGA’s next play day for men is Sept. 6 at Natanis Tomahawk. The women’s play day is Sept. 6 at The Meadows.

*****

Sept. 5 is the deadline for USGA members to apply for tickets and packages for the 2023 U.S. Open, which will be June 15-18 at the Los Angeles Country Club. A lottery will determine who gets the opportunity to take advantage of the packages and tickets. To apply for either, click on to [email protected]

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his 10th season as the Sun Journal’s golf columnist.


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