Wright Wins Mid-Amateur Championship
Day Two Notes:
Peter Wright certainly made it difficult for himself down the stretch in the final round of the 2017 Mid-Amateur Championship, but the member of the host course Dunegrass GC was able to hold on to win his first MSGA major event this afternoon. Despite some late bogeys coming down the stretch, Wright was able to secure a three stroke victory over good friend and Maine Amateur champion Jack Wyman.
"I birdied 9, 10 and 12," said Wright, "which was huge to give me a cushion going into the final stretch." He admitted to being nervous, but the longtime Dunegrass member was able to par the last and win comfortably in front of a large crowd of fellow members rooting him on. In the end, his scores of 71 -75 -- 146 (+2) earned him the crystal trophy.
During the trophy acceptance, Wright gave his respect to fellow playing partners Ricky Jones and John Hayes. "Those guys are class acts," Wright admitted. Jones and Hayes finished in third and fourth, respectively.
Wyman finished runner-up in what was the most dominant season of any player in the Pine Tree State this year. In addition to his win at the Maine Amateur at Brunswick GC in July, he was low amateur at the Charlie's Maine Open, runner-up at the Match Play Invitational in August, and now runner-up at the Mid-Amateur. Always the gentleman, he was happy to see Wright prevail and get the win.
In addition to playing for the overall title, some players were hoping to secure the last available exemptions into next year's Maine Amateur Championship. There were three spots available at this weekend's event, open to the top three finishers (and ties) who were not otherwise exempt. The golfers who played their way into next year's Maine Amateur were Pat Bucklin (Falmouth CC), Joe Hamilton (Biddeford-Saco CC), Ryan Wingard (Val Halla GC), and Ron Dery (Biddeford-Saco CC).
The MSGA would like to thank host club Dunegrass GC for their hospitality and great course conditions for this event. The golf course showed its teeth, as players were tested with a stern test of golf on the tree-lined fairways and speedy greens. Thanks to all competitors this week, and throughout the season, for a great championship campaign for the MSGA.
Day One Notes:
Peter Wright is a longtime member at Dunegrass GC and used his years of local knowledge to claim the early lead at the 2017 Mid-Amateur Championship. The left-hander shot an opening round of 71 (-1) to take the early lead in the 27th playing of this championship. He leads perennial contender Ricky Jones (Samoset Resort GC) by two shots going into tomorrow's second round.
Wright got off to a slow start, making bogeys on two of his first five holes, but played cleanly thereafter with a back nine 33 to shoot the only under par score of the day. The tree-lined course played hard the first day, as scores were high for the field, making his 71 that much more impressive on a difficult day to play.
Jones, a five time winner of this event, sits just two back going into tomorrow's round. His round included four birdies that had him in the red until a late double-bogey on 16 sent him to one over par where he finished. Jones and Wright will be joined by 2015 Maine Amateur champion John Hayes (Sable Oaks GC) in the final pairing tomorrow. Like Wright, Hayes started slow on the day and needed a back nine 33 to get back to 74 (+2) and into the final pairing.
Nine players currently sit at +4 or better and within five shots of the lead, meaning anything can happen on the difficult Dunegrass layout in tomorrow's final round.
The shot of the day went to Scott Jones (Nonesuch River GC), who made an ace on the 164-yard 2nd hole. After making double on the first hole, he easily got it back to even par after two with the improbable 7-1 start.
Play will resume again tomorrow morning at 7:30 am, with the leaders set to go out last at 11:00. Live scoring will be available all day online.
The Maine State Golf Association (MSGA) will conclude its championship season this weekend at Dunegrass GC, as some of the state’s top players will tee it up in the 27th playing of the Mid-Amateur Championship. The tournament is open to Maine resident golfers who have reached their 25th birthday by the first round of the event on September 23.
In addition to playing for one of the state’s most coveted titles, players are also competing for the last three available exemptions into next year’s Maine Amateur Championship. The top three finishers in this weekend’s event (who aren’t already exempt) will earn a berth in the 2018 Maine Amateur Championship.
The USGA introduced the Mid-Amateur Championship in 1981 after they noticed that the United States Amateur was being won by predominantly college-aged golfers. Their aim was to create a competitive championship for older golfers who never turned pro and played as lifelong amateurs. The MSGA followed suit a decade later, introducing the championship to its schedule in 1991.
- The field consists of 71 players representing 28 different Maine golf clubs;
- Falmouth CC has the most players in the field with ten, followed by Sable Oaks GC with seven and Biddeford-Saco CC with six;
- Lance Bernier, Zach Golojuch and Jimmy Quentin are the three 25-year-olds in the field making their debuts in their first eligible year to compete. Paul Cloutier is the oldest player in the field at 65. The average age in the field is 42.3;
- The average USGA Handicap Index for the field is 3.9;
- There are six former champions in the field: Ricky Jones (2001, ’03, ’04, ’05, ’10), Joe Alvarez (2006, ’07, '11), Scott Sirois (2009), Ashley Fifield (2012), Keith Patterson III (2014), and Mike Doran (2015).
The field is comprised of players from 28 Maine golf clubs, with the number of players from that course in parentheses: Augusta (3), Biddeford-Saco (6), Boothbay Harbor (1), Dunegrass (2), Falmouth (10), Fox Ridge (2), Freeport (2), Gorham (4), Martindale (1), Mere Creek (1), Nonesuch River (4), Penobscot Valley (5), Point Sebago (1), Poland Spring (1), Portland (1), Riverside (2), Rockland (1), Sable Oaks (7), Samoset Resort (4), The Ledges (1), The Links at Outlook (1), The Woodlands (2), Toddy Brook (1), Turner Highlands (1), Val Halla (4), Webhannet (1), Willowdale (1), and York (1).
The tournament will consist of 36 holes of stroke play with no cut.
Round 1: September 23, 2017 – 7:30 am to 11:20 am
Round 2: September 24, 2017 – 7:30 am to 11:20 am
Dunegrass GC was designed by architect Dan Maples and opened for play in 1998. The course will play as a par 72 for the championship from approximately 6,600 yards.
In addition to this year’s Mid-Amateur Champioinship, Dunegrass has previously hosted three MSGA Championship events: the 2000 Mid-Amateur, 2001 Tri-State Matches, and the 2013 Maine Senior Amateur.