Once every six years, the state of Maine has the honor to host the New England Amateur Championship, a 72-hole, 156-player event featuring the best players from all six New England states.
This year, the beautiful Falmouth Country Club provided the challenge for these golfers, hosting the event for the second time in its relatively young history. As it did for the recent Hannford Community Challenge Legends Tour last month, Falmouth's challenges proved worthy as just the winner was able to score under par over the four-round event. Despite hosting these two major championships virtually back-to-back, the golf course was in magnificent condition.
While Christopher Swift, from Great River GC in Connecticut won the event going away with a two-under 282, four players from Maine did make the 40-player cut for Thursday's final 36 holes.
Leading the way for Maine, in a tie for fifth place, was Johnny Hayes, who had rounds of 76 for his first and third rounds and 68 for his second and fourth rounds to finish at 288. Hayes plays out of both host club Falmouth and Prouts Neck.
Next for Maine was York's Judd Parsons, who's returning to championship golf here after not playing for a few years. Parsons fired a 292, good for a tie for 10th place.
This year's Maine Amateur champ Seth Sweet of Lakewood was Maine's final player in the top 20, as he finished in a tie for 14th at 295.
Falmouth home clubber Joe Walp, the 2010 Maine Junior Champion, also made the cut at a tie for 29th with a total four-round score of 300.
Finally, although he finished in a tie for 39th, Gorham's Tommy Stirling had the shot of the day when his 200-yard five iron tee shot on the 11th found the hole for an ace. Stirling finished at 304.
The last player from Maine to win the New England Championships was Mark Plummer, who won it when Falmouth hosted in 1994. He finished runner-up to Jim Salinetti in 2000 when Maine hosted at Waterville. Plummer also won the 1979 New England Amateurs at Portsmouth.
The next New England event Maine will host will be next year at Portland Country Club for the New England Senior Championships.
Many thanks go out to all the volunteer rules officials and especially the staff of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Golf Associations for their help in conducting this event. We at the MSGA look forward to having everyone back next year!